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New Fullback McClain a Key Addition for Chargers

Posted Aug 3, 2012

Bring up the topic of Le'Ron McClain and head coach Norv Turner can’t help but gush over his new fullback.

“Le’ron is going to be a big, big part of this offense,” said Turner.  “He has multiple skills and is physical.  It’s fun to be around him every day.  He has high energy and loves the game of football.  He knows what it takes to play at a high level so he’s going to be a big part of what we do.”

Photo Gallery: Aug. 3 Practice | More Camp Photos

The Chargers are understandably pleased to have one of the best fullbacks in the game in the fold.  A two-time Pro Bowler in 2008 and 2009, McClain excels in both pass protection and run blocking, mauling the opposition with his brute strength. In 2008, when he was thrust into a tail back role due to injuries, he responded by rushing for 902 yards, combined for 1,025 yards and notched 11 touchdowns.  McClain is a superb receiver out of the backfield as well, recording 84 catches over his career for 535 yards and three scores.  The 6-foot-0, 260-pound bruiser is also one of the most durable fullbacks in the league, missing only one game in his career despite playing a physically demanding position.

For as much as the Chargers wanted to sign him, McClain desperately wanted to join the Bolts as well. A highly coveted free agent, he had the pick of the litter on what team to join. But to him, there was never any doubt where he’d end up

“This is a great team,” he said enthusiastically following practice. “There are some really great players when you look at the roster like Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Ryan Mathews, Shaun Philips, Takeo Spikes.  The list keeps going on with guys like that. Everyone is working on that one common goal and that’s a championship.  I felt like this was the best opportunity for me to come in and contribute as a player to help the team win.  So far it’s been going as good as I could have hoped.”

1 on 1 with Jarret Johnson

McClain has particularly enjoyed getting to know this year’s running back corps, which he says has the chance to be an elite factor in the NFL this season.

“This is one of the best running back groups I’ve been around since I’ve been in the league. Everybody compliments everyone else in the room.  Everybody brings different attributes to the game and that will make us one of the best in the league.  We’ve done a great job so far.  I love having the chance to block for guys as good as Ryan Mathews and Ronnie Brown.”

More specifically, the chance to block for Mathews was another major reason why McClain chose to join the Bolts over any other team.

“Ryan is great.  It’s a special thing to block for someone like that where you know if you put your hat on a guy, he’s going to get the chance to do something special with the ball. He makes you look good with his running ability. I’m looking forward to seeing him in the games this season.”

McClain also looks forward to making a name for himself when September comes. If there is one thing he wants you to come away from after watching him play, it’s his physicality.

I want to be that bruising physical guy for this team,” he declared. “Whether that’s blocking, catching the ball out of the backfield or running the ball, I plan on bringing that physical attribute to this team. I take pride in that game in and game out.”

Quick Hits

  • The team unveiled its wildcat packages during practice today with Ronnie Brown taking the majority of snaps.
  • Melvin Ingram had a particularly strong day, especially against the run where he made multiple stops in the backfield.
  • Le’Ron McClain paved the way for a big Ryan Mathews run up the gut.
    Mathews had a gorgeous 20-yard catch where he turned in mid-air to complete the reception.
  • Atari Bigby took part in the entire practice today and returned to the first team defense.
  • Vincent Brown hauled in a 60-yard touchdown strike from Philip Rivers.
  • Antwan Barnes left practice for a bit after getting tangled up with Mario Henderson.  He later returned to the field without any ill effects.
  • Robert Meachem was once again on the receiving end of a long touchdown reception from Rivers.
  • Jackie Battle ran for a big gain off the left tackle in full team drills.
  • Practice ended with the team converting a fourth and five with Rivers checking down to Brown who extended the ball across the first down marker.
  • Rivers praised rookie free agent offensive tackle Mike Harris following this morning’s walk through.
  • Don’t forget to check out FanFest tomorrow morning at Qualcomm Stadium.
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