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Dean Spanos Sounds Off on Coming Season
After what’s seemed like an eternity, the San Diego Chargers get “Back to Football” this week when training camp kicks off on Thursday. On the heels of a successful 2013 campaign, there is a buzz around Chargers Park at the dawn of a new season. Perhaps no one is more excited than Dean Spanos, and we caught up with the Chargers’ president to get a sense of his true feelings on the state of the Bolts.
Chargers.com: First off, what are your initial thoughts on the coming season now that training camp is upon us?
Spanos: I’m always optimistic at the beginning of every season, but this year is very exciting. Last year we had a new head coach, a new general manager and a lot of turnover on our 53 man roster. Now we’ve had one year for that to all work itself out and put the process through our system. So I feel very confident about our stability as an organization going forward having had that year behind us. And then what Tom (Telesco) has done this offseason has me excited as well. We added a few players through free agency that I really think are going to be significant players for us. Obviously Brandon Flowers is one and Donald Brown is another. So I am very excited about that. We are also getting some players back this year that were injured last year like Dwight Freeney and Malcom Floyd. Those two come to mind, but even Corey Liuget, who played all season, was hurt and now he is healthy. So those are three really impactful players coming back this season. Plus you add the draft we had, and we had a few exciting new players we added that have a legitimate chance to start for us. So you look at all that and it’s pretty exciting. Now we still have to go out and you have to be lucky, you have to be injury free and you have to be good. But I am confident heading into the season because we worked our way through the kinks the first season.
Chargers.com: I want to ask you about one of those players you just mentioned. When Tom approached you in June and tells you that we have a chance to add a guy like Brandon Flowers, what was your reaction?
Spanos: It was kind of an odd situation to be able to add a guy like that in June, but it was exciting because he is a real, legitimate starting cornerback. That’s been one of our needs over the last several years. So when you have a chance to get a player of that caliber on your team, it really boosts everything up. It takes the pressure off that specific position, and now you can focus on other positions that may have needs.
Chargers.com: You’ve been around Malcom Floyd his entire career. You know what type of human being he is. What has it been like seeing him return from that scary injury last year?
Spanos: You can’t find a person with better character than Malcom. He’s just a great individual and a great human being. That was a really tough thing for him last year. It was a serious injury and I know it affected him and everything in his life. But he’s a really resilient guy. He fought through it and he’s as confident as ever coming back. So I’m happy for him as a person, a family man and a player. And I’m happy because as a team, we’ve got a really good player coming back.
Chargers.com: Everybody has something they look forward to in training camp. What is Dean Spanos looking forward to most?
Spanos: I want to see some of the young rookies step up and maybe have a chance to get into a starting position. Some of our draft picks have legitimate chances to start. And then I want to see some of our free agents and how they fare in training camp. That is really what training camp is all about. Obviously there is getting ready for the season, but you want to see some of these players step up in the key positions.
Chargers.com: This is the third year in a row the team will open up as the second game of a national Monday night doubleheader. What are your thoughts on that?
Spanos: It’s exciting! There is a lot of pressure obviously, but you’ve still got to go about your business. It’s almost become a tradition around here that we open up as the last game of the week. Obviously it makes for a short week the following week, and it’s exciting, but you still have to go out there and play.
Chargers.com: Finally, I don’t think any of us on that field on Week 17 last year will forget what that atmosphere was like, and how amazing those fans were. How much are you looking forward to Qualcomm rocking like that again?
Spanos: It’s electrifying and off the charts. That is what this is all about. It’s so great and when you are successful and you’re winning, you see the fans and the intensity level just go up. It’s incredible.