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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
Lavelle Hawkins "Prayed About" Becoming a Charger
In the final tune-up game against the San Francisco 49ers before the regular season kicked off, the Chargers saw first-hand how dangerous Lavelle Hawkins can be.
He popped the ball up in the air at the 40-yard line, and ran under it to complete the catch. He immediately absorbed a crushing hit by Jahleel Addae but remained on his feet showing tremendous balance and athleticism. He then broke another tackle and cut left up the field with a burst of breakaway speed for the highlight-reel touchdown.
Hopefully, these eye-popping plays will continue now that he is a member of the Chargers.
“He’s a very explosive player,” Head Coach Mike McCoy said. “As we all saw on that tip ball in the preseason, he’s a playmaker. That’s what he’s done throughout his career....It’s a great addition to our team and we’re looking forward to him helping us win some games down the road.”
The 5-11, 194-pound wide receiver was at the airport, ready to board a plane to work out for the Washington Redskins when he got the call. It was a trip he didn’t want to take as he’d been praying he’d join the Bolts after working out with them last week.
His prayers were answered.
“It feels great (to be a Charger),” he said. “It was tough (being out of the league). It was definitely not easy especially when you know you can play this game. You’ve just got to keep your mind into it and stay in shape because things happen, guys go down and you’ve got to be ready. You can’t be one of those guys that are out there and you’re not in shape whenever you’re called on. So you’ve got to always stay ready. “
One major reason Hawkins wanted to be a Charger was because of his relationship with wide receivers coach Fred Graves, who was his position coach for his first three years in the league with the Tennessee Titans.
“I look at Graves like a pops,” Hawkins said. “Graves drafted me to Tennessee, and we always had a great relationship. If I had the opportunity to go play with him again, I always wanted to do that. This is a chance to go play for him as a veteran.”
According to McCoy, it appears Graves feels the same way about the wide receiver.
“With Fred Graves having worked with him before in the past, Fred knew a lot about him,” he said. “So Fred’s told us about him for the past couple months when he’s been out there. After playing San Francisco we talked a little bit about him just like every other player we play against. So we had a lot of good background on him.”
Another reason Hawkins desperately wanted to land in San Diego was the opportunity to catch passes from Philip Rivers.
“To be honest, I prayed about this,” Hawkins said. “I was in San Francisco and I got released and my coach is here, Fred Graves, and I was speaking with him over the team I was out. I was saying, ‘Coach, if there’s anything you can do, get me over there’ because I always wanted to play with Philip because it seems like he’s a fiery guy so this is a dream come true.”
Another benefit of adding Hawkins is his ability as a kick returner, notching a 105-yard return for a touchdown this past preseason. The primary kick returner this year had been Fozzy Whittaker, but he was released this past Saturday. According to McCoy, Hawkins was the guy they were focused on regardless of his ability to return kicks or not.
“We’ve been looking at a number of guys,” McCoy said. “If something happened, we had guys at a certain pecking order. Something happened with Malcom (Floyd) and it’s just a coincidence that he’s the one we wanted to bring in. Then we lost Fozzy. So we were very excited to have him. He was at the top of the list regardless of what the situation was going to be.”