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Former Bolts Reminisce About "Brotherhood" During Alumni Weekend
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Many familiar faces were in attendance for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns as part of the Chargers’ annual Alumni Weekend celebration.
While the 19-10 win was sweet, reminiscing about the past with former players young and old was even sweeter.
“We don’t always get the chance to see each other (like) some guys you played with,” Shawne Merriman said. “Some guys moved back to their hometowns when they retired and they were done. Some of the guys who played before me, I get the chance to see them all in one day. We get a chance to share some stories; some really good stories.”
“It’s an opportunity for the guys who have represented this organization for a long time through the decades and the generations to just come back and support the current players and tell stories of their generations,” added LaDainian Tomlinson. “(We) get to know each other even more than we already know each other.”
As LT attested, despite differences in ages and positions, all alumni are united by one thing - donning the lightning bolt.
The weekend kicked off on Saturday with former players getting a viewing of practice at Hoag Performance Center followed by a dinner that night. On Sunday, the alumni attended a special tailgate and were honored on the field pregame.
But the highlight came at halftime, when Chargers legends Ron Mix, Charlie Joiner and Fred Dean were presented with updated Pro Football Hall of Fame rings in a special ceremony. They were honored by their newest Hall of Fame peer, LaDainian Tomlinson.
“In my entire career, I think being inducted in the Hall of Fame is probably my most famous moment,” Joiner said of the honor. “Anything connected with the Hall of Fame, I truly appreciate it. I just hope that everyone else appreciates it as much as I do.”
“To get into the Hall of Fame in and of itself is great,” Dean added. “But then to be honored with things of that nature, it’s words that can’t really express how good it feels. It’s a great thing all the way around, and it’s a great thing the Chargers are doing to help put it on.”
Despite life sometimes getting in the way of keeping in touch with those they played with, one thing is for certain, the alumni are thankful and grateful to the Spanos Family for hosting Alumni Weekend and allowing them to connect with their “brothers.”
“They’re great people,” Merriman said. “They realize the guys who have bled and sweat for this organization and put time in and effort to build a community. They realize the brotherhood to put everybody on the same field. Those are my brothers, I miss them all and get a chance to see them all on one day.”
“It’s a great feeling,” Dean added. “I’m glad that Dean Spanos put this on for us and gave us an opportunity to be seen by the public again. The moment you’re seen, you’re never forgotten.”