It didn’t take long for the Chargers to match the fans’ sentiment and re-sign special teams captain and safety
“It feels good knowing Darrell will be back with us,” Telesco said at the time. “He’s proven to be a very valuable member of both our defense and our special teams, as well as a positive influence in the locker room.”
All those traits have been evident over the first two weeks of training camp as Stuckey’s shown why bringing him back was a priority for the Bolts. The way the coaching staff, front office, teammates and especially the fans reacted to the news meant the world to the effervescent veteran.
Stuckey was the team’s Special Teams Player of the Year last season, finishing third on the team with 10 tackles and one fumble recovery. Special Teams Coordinator Kevin Spencer refers to the 5-11,212-pounder as a cornerstone of the team, which is evident each day at Chargers Park with the way he practices and helps instruct his teammates.
There is a reason the rookies all seek Stuckey out on the field and after practice, and he takes his leadership role very seriously.
“It’s pretty often they come to me because they can trust me, which is important,” he said. “I think they have a strong respect for me because of what they see on film and that I’ve been a two-year captain. So I’m just trying to be a decent leader. They want to know for sure if what they are doing is ok, or what type of technique to use in what situation. It’s not that I know everything, but Coach Spencer trusts me to have them come to me. And I will go to them too if I feel I can help them in any way. Look, I don’t have every answer, but if there is something they aren’t sure about I’ll do my best to help. It’s all about building morale and team unity, and I’m just trying to be used to fill
It’s important to note that Stuckey isn’t just a special teams star. He saw the most significant playing time of his career on defense in 2013, especially over the final three games of the regular season and in the playoffs. He helped the Chargers reach the postseason with a career-high three defensive tackles in Week 17. Then against the Bengals to open the playoffs, he had a key pass defensed on a deep ball to Marvin Jones in the third quarter. A week later against the Denver Broncos, Stuckey deflected a surefire touchdown into the air, allowing Donald Butler to intercept it in the end zone. Now the safety aims to build off that strong finish should Defensive Coordinator John Pagano call his number.
“I think the biggest thing is reliability and accountability,” he said. “Having your team be able to rely on you and trust you in situations, even if you haven’t been in there all year, is important. I want to do whatever it takes to be a credit to my organization and my team. If I have the opportunity to get out there and play safety, I will do so to the best of my ability.”