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Bolts Celebrate Career of Great Charlie Joiner
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One of the greatest careers in Chargers history – and the NFL for that matter - was celebrated in grand fashion on Friday as the Chargers front office and coaching staff joined some notable alumni to wish a fond farewell to the great Charlie Joiner.
It was a celebration that deeply touched Joiner as he departs the NFL after 44 years of service as a player and coach. 21 of those years were spent with the Chargers, 11 seasons as a player and 10 as a coach.
“This is very special,” he said. “It’s tough to put into words really. It’s pretty special that people would take their time to come here, especially on a Friday night. To come here and honor me and be a part of this final celebration, I just love the Spanos family and the guys for doing something like this.”
During a sterling Hall of Fame career, Joiner caught 750 passes, which was the most in league history at the time of his retirement as a player. Of those catches, 586 came with the Chargers, which stood as a team record until Antonio Gates broke it in 2011. Currently, Joiner ranks second in team history in receiving yards (9,203) and fourth in touchdown catches (47). Following his playing career, he became a coach and enjoyed two stints in San Diego. The first occurred from 1987-91 while the most recent stint was from 2008-2012.
For President Dean Spanos, the decision to honor Joiner with one final celebration was a no-brainer.
“Charlie has been in the National Football League for 44 years and half of that was with the San Diego Chargers,” he said. “It’s just a small way to say thank you not only from our family and the team, but from the city also. His contributions are just unbelievable. He’s a Hall of Famer and I can’t say enough good things about him. It’s great to see him here alongside some of his great teammates. I came into the league in 1984, and most of these guys were here. So to see them again, they’re a little bit older and a little bit greyer, but it’s neat to see them. This whole night, it’s just very special.”
One of the many teammates who came out to honor Joiner was the man who threw him all those great passes, fellow Hall of Famer Dan Fouts. The legendary quarterback was honored to be a part of this celebration for his teammate as well as good friend.
“The thing about Charlie is that he had two really great careers,” explained Fouts. “One was as a Hall of Fame player and then one as a coach that went on and influenced so many young players. His contribution to pro football is substantial. Remember, he was the all-time leading receiver in history at the time he retired from playing. To be able to pass on his knowledge to the younger players the way he did, it was just invaluable. So it’s a pleasure to be here to celebrate the great career of a great man.”
As for what Joiner will do now that he leaves behind the game, that is still up in the air. But one thing that will never change is the contribution he made not only to the NFL, but to the San Diego Chargers.