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Darrell Stuckey's Value to the Chargers

Posted Aug 3, 2014

Safety and special teams standout Darrell Stuckey brings a lot to the table.

Mere hours after General Manager Tom Telesco re-signed defensive captain Donald Butler on Feb. 28, Chargers fans were hoping the GM would lock up another captain who was set to hit free agency.

It didn’t take long for the Chargers to match the fans’ sentiment and re-sign special teams captain and safety Darrell Stuckey to a multi-year contract.

“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.

“It showed me how they feel I’m doing the right things and am on the right track,” he said following a recent practice.  “Once you get the fan base behind you, you know the city loves you and you feel comfortable. So it’s been fun, it shows how much the city loves you and verifies that not only the coaches appreciate what you do, but that the fans do as well.  And it was nice to re-sign right after Donald because we’ve both been here since 2010 and trained together pre-combine.  When we were drafted to the same team it was awesome, and now to both end up back here was even better.”

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.

“Special teams is very hard for rookies or those who haven’t done it yet in the NFL because they need to realize it’s a lot different than college just due to the fact that players are a lot faster and more physical,” he explained.  “Guys are more purposeful and intentional in that they will attack you rather than wait and let you come at them.  You have to pay attention to what you have, and what your responsibility is.   So I’m trying to help them out with their technique, because you can really work on that at training camp.”

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 other vessels.”

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.”

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