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D.J. Fluker Helped Cultivate Chargers' Winning Culture

Posted Apr 30, 2014

In selecting D.J. Fluker with his first ever Chargers draft pick, Tom Telesco helped establish Bolts' winning culture.

When Tom Telesco was hired as General Manager in January of 2013, he spoke about instilling a winning culture within the walls of Chargers Park. 

Just four months later he began that process by selecting D.J. Fluker with the very first draft pick of his Chargers tenure. In fact, Telesco might have undersold last year’s 11th overall selection when he called him a foundational player who will help reinforce the GM’s vision for the San Diego Chargers.

“We put a lot of work into the decision, but we think D.J. has a chance to be one of the cornerstones moving forward on the offensive line,” Telesco said seconds after making the pick a year ago.  “He plays with such energy and passion for the game which usually for big tackles is hard to find. He loves to practice and loves to play.”

Based on Telesco’s words, one of the first questions we asked Fluker was about his desire to bring his winning mentality to the Bolts.  After all, he helped deliver three BCS National Championships to Alabama over his four years there.

“Plan on it!” he promised.  “I plan on bringing it every day to practice. Plan on me bringing that every Sunday.  Plan on me bringing that to my offensive line.  That’s what I’m bringing to the table.  When I get there, everyone will realize it.”

It’s been nearly a whole calendar year since number 76 joined the Bolts, and with exactly one week to go before the 2014 NFL Draft, Fluker reflected back on his first year in San Diego. The well-respected right tackle again stressed how he relished the opportunity to infuse a winning culture.  Despite being only a rookie Fluker has never been one to hold back from voicing his opinion.  Having a young player demand accountability not only from himself but his teammates was one of the many reasons why the Chargers had a spirited postseason run in 2013.

“It’s all about having a mindset and not accepting anything less than the best from yourself,” Fluker said while back at Chargers Park for the offseason conditioning program.  “We all have a fire in our eyes after last season and how it ended.  We want to get back there and go even further past the second round.  We want to get to the Super Bowl.  We have to have the mindset that anything less than that is unacceptable.”

While his eye is focused on the future, Fluker is currently experiencing a sense of déjà vu with the 2014 draft on the horizon.

“That was really crazy,” he said with a deep sigh.  “I can relate to the guys getting ready to be selected.  I was in their shoes a year ago.  I was nervous and when I found out I was drafted I cried.  And I’m excited to see who we add.  I can’t wait to talk to them and welcome them to our team and help them anyway I can since I was in their same spot recently.  I can’t wait to watch them progress.”

Fluker took this past offseason very seriously.  He has been relentless in his training regimen and even took up kickboxing as a new component.  After all, he says he wants to give every ounce he has to deliver a championship to a city that embraced him with open arms.

“It just feels great to be a San Diego Charger,” he said matter-of-factly.  “I couldn’t have picked a better place to be.  These fans out here made me play even harder.  They really did.  They gave me even more passion for the game. To have a fan base like this, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. I’m so happy to be back here training with the team again.  These workouts have been hard.  We’re really working hard to get ready and get back at it.  Right now we’re just trying to get our conditioning up and it feels great to be together again.  We’re going to have a great year.”

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