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Bolts Bolster Defense with Kavell Conner
For the second time in less than 48 hours, the San Diego Chargers welcomed a former Indianapolis Colt into the fold.
While Tuesday night word came down the Bolts agreed to a three-year deal with running back Donald Brown, today the team bolstered the defense with the signing of inside linebacker Kavell Conner to a three-year deal. The 27-year old joins current inside linebackers Donald Butler, Manti Te'o, Andrew Gachkar, Jonas Mouton and Terrell Manning on the roster.
Over four seasons, the 6-0, 245-pounder recorded 236 tackles, seven passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one sack. His most productive campaign came in 2011 when he started 15 of 16 games, amassing 104 tackles. Overall, he’s made 36 starts in 52 career games. Conner dealt with injuries in 2013, appearing in only 10 games while recording just 21 tackles.
Conner has a number of ties to his new team, most notably with Telesco. The general manager was a member of the Colts front office when he was selected in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Conner also played collegiately at Clemson alongside two of his new Chargers teammates, Crezdon Butler and Marcus Gilchrist. Finally, he’ll be under the tutelage of Defensive Coordinator John Pagano after suiting up the past two seasons for his brother, Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano.
The addition of Conner is the sixth significant move made by the Bolts during the free agency period. First, they locked up pivotal free agents Donald Butler, Darrell Stuckey and Chad Rinehart, then added Donald Brown and tight end David Johnson.
The San Diego Chargers continued to add pieces to their 2014 roster, bringing the versatile David Johnson into the fold on Wednesday. The tight end is regarded as an excellent blocker with pass catching ability, and has appeared at fullback over his career as well.
Over four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Johnson appeared in 52 games, recording 22 catches for 216 yards and one touchdown in the process. His top season came in 2011 when he snared a career-high 12 balls for 91 yards and a score. He started all 16 games that season as well as the team’s lone postseason game at fullback. Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending knee injury the following preseason and missed the entire 2012 campaign. Johnson returned to action in 2013, appearing in five games with two starts. He was off to a strong start with four catches for 70 yards, averaging 17.5 yards per catch, before suffering a left wrist injury that once again ended his season.
The 6-2, 260-pounder was initially a 2009 seventh round draft choice (241st overall) out of Arkansas State. He possesses great speed, clocking in a 4.7 40-yard dash prior to entering the league, but he perhaps earns the highest praise for his superb blocking skills. Thus, in addition to being a weapon in the passing game, Johnson will be tasked with opening holes for Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and the newest Charger, Donald Brown. Along with the re-signings of Donald Butler, Darrell Stuckey and Chad Rinehart, Johnson is the fifth significant transaction made by the Bolts in recent weeks.