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Marion Grice and Alden Darby have been through a lot over the years.
Most recently they worked out together the past few months as they chased their goal of being an NFL player. Prepared to go their separate ways after the NFL Draft, the Arizona State stars’ journey together isn’t quite over yet. Shortly after selecting Grice in the sixth round on Saturday, the Bolts added Darby as one of their priority undrafted free agents. When Darby contacted Grice to offer congratulations when San Diego drafted the running back, little did he know that just a few hours later he’d be joining his friend in America’s Finest City.
Being in San Diego was a lifelong dream for the safety that grew up a diehard Chargers fans.
“This is crazy,” he said with a smile. “I grew up a Chargers fan. I’ve rooted for them all my life. I know everything about them, so being able to be a part of the organization and the locker room is like this was meant to be. So it’s exciting.”
Grice knows how much being in San Diego means to his good friend, which he says makes this experience even better for the pair.
“This is fun being here with him,” he said. “This is his favorite team, so getting the chance and opportunity to play for his favorite team is great. We sit around talking about it all the time.”
Last year featured another pair of rookies who were college teammates in Keenan Allen and Steve Williams. Both Cal products said having one another to lean on was crucial, especially during the first few months after being drafted. To that point, both Darby and Grice realize they are fortunate to be in a similar situation.
“This is awesome to have him here,” Darby said. “We played together for two years. We trained together. We lived together for the last four months. It’s good and fun to have somebody here that I know very personally. We can sit and talk about the situations we’re in. That’s important to have.”
“Honestly, in my opinion and I’m not just saying this because he’s my teammate, but he’s the best player I ever went against in my life,” he said. “He can do it all with his versatility in catching the ball out of the backfield. I’ve just never seen a running back run routes and catch the ball as well as he does. He is very smart. And off the field he is a hard working humble guy. He won’t say much and does his job. He’s just a great dude overall.”
Likewise, Grice knows the team was fortunate to add the hard-hitting safety as well.
“He is a great player. He is very, very smart. You can listen to him talk and it is impressive. He knows so much. I can’t wait to see him compete here. I’m happy he is getting a shot to show what kind of player he is.” Read