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Sun., Oct. 23, 2016 1:05 PM to 4:05 PM PDT
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Team Sees Bright Future Ahead
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The San Diego Chargers spent Monday cleaning out their lockers and attending final meetings with coaches. It is the very last time this exact team will ever be together.
But while the season may be over, every single member of the team reiterated the same message as they said their goodbyes and prepared for the offseason.
The Chargers future is incredibly bright.
Perhaps no one summed up the team’s feelings better than Jarret Johnson, who was voted as one of the team’s most inspirational players by his teammates.
“The late surge revealed what this team is all about,” he said. “It shows the bright future. We had a lot of guys, especially young guys, that helped us out a bunch, which is what you want to see. A lot of production out of our veteran players. This is a tough, tough football team. Obviously, today is a sad day (because of the) disappointing loss, but I’m happy about the future here.”
Nick Hardwick was also named as one of the most inspirational players. He has been a part of the Chargers for the past decade and has been a part of some special Chargers’ teams. Still, talking about the 2013 Chargers brings a special sparkle to his eye, especially when he talks about what lies ahead for the club.
“There is a huge upside here,” he said. “This is just the beginning. It’s good to be heading in the right direction again and be back in the playoffs. We made a strong statement going forward. The next step is winning the division. We have to start winning the division. We’re right there, and we just have to make a good strong push. We look forward to winning games in the division and finding ways to win more playoff games.”
Overall, Philip Rivers is the Chargers unquestioned leader, and his words resonated through the locker room as he too spoke about the bright future that lies ahead for the Bolts.
“I think the way we finished and what we did in the first year with this new staff and really new team –we’ve got a lot of new guys – it’s set the foundation for what hopefully is going to be a tear here getting into the tournament in consecutive years,” said the quarterback. “You’re never guaranteed that…. We have a lot of young guys who got a lot of valuable experience and a lot of young guys who are going to be young guys next year but yet played a lot of football this year. So our team is only going to get better. I can’t see how we won’t get better in the next six months and have a chance to be even better next year.”
The man Rivers has completed more passes to than anyone else echoed his quarterback’s sentiments, especially about the development of the younger players on the team.
“We’re excited about the young guys this year,” said Antonio Gates. “We’re excited about the core and just being excited for the offseason. We didn’t get what we wanted, obviously you take one situation and say we didn’t win the Super Bowl, but we did a lot of good things this year. We’re looking forward to (this) offseason and looking forward to making a run next year.”
Eric Weddle is another well-respected leader who was elected as the team’s Defensive Player of the Year. Thus, it’s no surprise he feels the same way as the rest of the Bolts leaders.
“It was a great journey,” he said, “The ups and downs, and to look at where we were and where we ended up and how close we were, it’s exciting for the future of the San Diego Chargers.”