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Newest Chargers Eager to Make a Mark
Like the rest of the league, the San Diego Chargers set their 53-man roster by 3:00pm PST on Saturday.
Less than 24 hours later, four new players were added.
General Manager Tom Telesco and Head Coach Mike McCoy stayed true to their word to attempt to upgrade the roster by any means necessary. That included an active Sunday morning that saw them trade for defensive lineman Sean Lissemore, agree to terms with linebacker Reggie Walker and claim defensive lineman Drake Nevis and linebacker Terrell Manning.
“l think that’s something Tom Telesco, the rest of the personnel staff, myself, coaches - that’s what we’re going to do throughout the year,” said McCoy. “Anytime we have an opportunity to improve the football team, certain things come up, injuries happen on your football team, so one move might lead to another move, and that’s the business….I think we got better. And that’s our number one thing we’re going to do. Anything we do to improve the football team, improve the organization, that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
The Chargers traded a conditional 2015 seventh-round draft choice to the Dallas Cowboys for Lissemore. A versatile defensive lineman who says he is capable of playing both the nose tackle and defensive end position, Lissemore has appeared in 28 games over his first three NFL seasons, collecting 66 tackles and 3.5 sacks. The 6-foot-3, 303-pounder thinks he is a perfect fit in the Chargers 3-4 scheme.
“I think this is going to be a great opportunity for me,” he said following his first practice with his new team. “I’ll be able to play wherever they put me. I’ll play the end, the three-technique, nose tackle – wherever they put me I’ll play. This is a positive change for me. This is a very talented defensive line that is competitive and a great group of guys. I think I fit in well. My best quality is that I play to the whistle every play. I find the ball and I run to it no matter what. People say I’m a high-motor guy, and that’s something I really pride myself on being.”
Another player who prides himself on flocking to the ball is Terrell Manning, a fifth-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2012. After a series of setbacks as a rookie beginning with a digestive illness in training camp that caused significant weight loss and continued with head and shoulder injuries throughout the season, the linebacker is ready to capitalize on the potential he showed when he starred at North Carolina State.
“I’m definitely happy the Chargers called me ASAP,” he said. “I’m happy to be here and they’re happy to have me. I look forward to showing off my speed. I’m ready to run all over the place and let my game speak for itself. Everyone can judge me on that.”
The other player the Chargers added via waivers is defensive tackle Drake Nevis, a former third-round pick (87th overall) of the Colts when Tom Telesco worked for Indianapolis. Nevis couldn’t hide his exuberance about joining the Bolts, as he feels they are just the team to give him the fresh start he was looking for.
“This is a blessing,” he said. “The last 24 hours happened so fast. I was released by the Colts and I was packing my bags and took a leap of faith that I’d get the right call, and the Chargers called that afternoon. I have a good relationship with Telesco. He’s a hard worker. I’d always stay late working out at the facility, and he’d always been one of the last guys who left like me. He’s serious about his work just as I’m serious about mine. It means a lot that he brought me here. I’m the type of player who will do whatever I need to do to help the team win, so it felt good to know he took the leap of faith on me. There is a world of talent on this team, and above that, they seem like good people. I’m happy I get to be a part of it.”
Finally, the Chargers agreed to terms with Walker over the weekend, and the linebacker officially signed his contract on Monday. A special teams ace, Walker rejoins two coaches he is quite familiar with in Chargers Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and Special Teams Coordinator Kevin Spencer.
“Those are my guys right there,” he said. “Just being on a different team is crazy right now, but I have a really good relationship with those guys. They are a really big reason why I came here. I’m looking forward to contributing right away on special teams. It’s really about creating a mindset that you really want it. I’ve been doing it a lot of years, and I feel like I’m a pretty good athlete, so I think I have the mindset and ability to be successful. But having those two guys here was really important to me.”