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Casey Hayward and the Bolts Acted Fast to Reach Deal
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Casey Hayward was halfway across the world a week ago, taking in some of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
That included a stop in Rome, where he took part in typical tourist activities.
A tour of the Coliseum.
A visit to the Vatican.
And, of course, stopping by the world-famous Trevi Fountain.
As tradition calls for, Hayward threw three coins over his shoulder into the fountain, and added a special wish of his own.
“It didn’t take long for it to come true,” he said with a laugh on Monday.
It certainly did not.
Mere days after his European adventure, Hayward and the Bolts reached agreement on a contract extension that will keep the Pro Bowl and All-Pro corner in the fold for the foreseeable future.
“This is surreal,” he said. “When I first got to the Chargers they took a chance on me, so it’s a blessing to come back and do it all over again. I’m going into my seventh year on my third deal, and that’s almost unheard of. This is definitely a blessing.”
Hayward still had another year on his contract, and wouldn’t have become a free agent until 2019. However, hammering out a deal to stay in LA beyond next season was a priority for all parties involved.
“This was important to do now,” he said. “I figured let’s make this happen and make both sides happy. I wanted to go into this season carefree and not worry about (getting a contract next year). I still expect to be a Pro Bowl, All-Pro corner.”
Hayward has his eyes on much more than that though.
He’s determined to go down as a Chargers legend.
“I want to be here long-term. I’ve been trying to set a legacy here for the last two years. I want to go out here and be one of the best Chargers of all-time. I started my career off with the Chargers pretty fast, and it’s gone pretty well so far. Now I’ve got to keep solidifying myself over the next few years. Hopefully I’ll eventually be recognized as one of the best Chargers to ever play as long as I keep playing at a high level. Keep getting those interceptions and making those big plays.”
There’s one more goal Hayward has for his career, and it’s the most important.
To win a Super Bowl.
He firmly believes his best chance at that is by remaining a Charger.
“The ultimate goal is to win the division and then the Super Bowl,” he said. “We’ve got the right pieces in line from every aspect. Offense, defense and special teams. Our offense is one of the best in the league, and so is our defense. We’ve got some edge rushers and a secondary that (is dangerous). So I think we have the pieces to win a championship for this organization. We ended last season on fire, so hopefully we can start (next year) the same way.”
Hayward’ s loyalty to the Bolts was also a factor.
The team gave him a chance two years ago, inking him to a three-year contract after he went a whole week on the open market. It’s a mistake all 31 other teams rue as Hayward leads the NFL in interceptions (11) and passes defensed (53) since joining the Chargers. He’s earned Pro Bowl and Second Team All-Pro honors each season as well, and last year ranked as Pro Football Focus’ fifth best player in the entire league.
“I was on the market for a bit, and I was just hoping to go to the right situation,” he says, reflecting on the situation he was in nearly two years ago to the day. “I clearly did. I’m super blessed.”