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Alexander Eager to Build Off Big Year
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Perhaps the feel good story of the 2012 San Diego Chargers was wide receiver Danario Alexander.
Always blessed with talent, Alexander suffered a series of knee injuries that appeared to derail his career at 24. Signed off the street just prior to Week 8, a healthy Alexander blossomed with the Bolts. He finished with a team-high seven touchdowns along with 37 catches for 658 yards in 10 games.
“My knee felt great last year and it’s carried over into the offseason,” Alexander said recently. “I want to stay on top of it with a little rehab work here and there. But overall it’s feeling good and when it feels good I play well, like you saw last year.”
A restricted free agent following the end of the season, Alexander signed his tender to return to the Chargers in April. Over the last few months he’s worked with the first-team offense, and he feels having an offseason to prepare rather than coming in via the middle of the year will prove beneficial.
“Coming in before the season gives me more time to be with the team,” he said. “The more time you have to be together, the better we get to know each other. So this is a great opportunity not just for me but for everybody to get on the same page. We’ll be better for it.”
A key to Alexander’s success has been his chemistry with Philip Rivers. The wide receiver says he inherently trusts his quarterback and he credits the passer for his big year in 2012.
“Philip and I have a good chemistry and that’s because we do our jobs,” he explained. “He makes it easy because I know if I’m in the right spot, he’s going to get it to me. If I do the right things on the field, he’ll take care of the rest.”
Heading into his second season in San Diego, Alexander is looking to increase his role not only on the field, but in the locker room.
“I want to step up and be the leader of the wide receivers,” he said. “We have a lot of good guys and talented guys. They have certain attributes and they do it well. We have to come out and stay healthy and we’ll have a great year from a receivers stand point.”
Alexander also believes the new coaching staff will pay large dividends in the coming year. He has complete faith in head coach Mike McCoy, offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and the rest of the coaches who have taken the reins this offseason.
“Coach McCoy is a great guy,” he said. “He’s fired up. He has everyone on the same page. He’s a good coach and the right guy to lead this team. Coach Whisenhunt is a good guy too. He knows his stuff. He knows the offense and he has everyone fitting in the right places. I think our staff from top to bottom is a great group of guys that know how to win games.”
Alexander had a bunch of memorable moments during his first season with the Chargers, including an 80-yard catch and run touchdown that was named one of the top 100 plays in the NFL. Still, one moment stands out above the rest.
“My last touchdown of the year against Oakland is probably the memory I’ll take with me from my first year in San Diego,” he said. “My family was sitting right at that spot, and I scored the touchdown and threw the ball right to my younger brother. So that was a great moment. I had my three brothers, my mom and my dad, so that was a great moment that I’ll always remember.”
From day one, Alexander embraced being a part of the San Diego Chargers organization. He thrived with the team and put together a special season. But beyond the accolades, statistics and special moments, Alexander points to his bond with the fans as a special connection that transcends the game.
“I’m glad I’m back with the Chargers,” he said. “When I came out here to San Diego I knew it was one of the best cities I’ve ever been to, let alone live in. So it’s a great place to live and play, and I look forward to hopefully sticking around for a while. The fans are a big part of that. Seeing how they embraced me and what they say to me on the street, it’s something special and something I’ll never take for granted.”