These cheers weren’t from the thousands of fans at Qualcomm Stadium urging on their heroes on a Sunday afternoon. Instead, it was spontaneous adulation coming from his teammates thrilled to have their dynamic wide receiver back in the fold.
“We haven’t had him out there at all in camp,” said Rivers. “So we all just gave him a little roar to know how happy we were to have him back.”
Royal suffered a leg strain on the first day of training camp making the team extra cautious with the 5-foot-10, 185-pounder who was one of the Chargers’ biggest offseason acquisitions. The fifth-year pro says the injury was a difficult one to overcome, but now that he is feeling 100%, he looks forward to a strong season as a member of the Bolts.
“It was a tough injury for a receiver, especially for me because a lot of cutting and quick movements is what I do,” he said. “I just really wanted to get it to where I’m comfortable out there and I feel I’m there now.”
Head coach Norv Turner has been steadfast in his unwavering enthusiasm of Royal, unable to contain his excitement over the lightning quick jitterbug of a receiver. As a result, he was more than pleased to have the explosive weapon return to action today.
“It was good to have him back,” said Turner. “He looked real good. He’s Eddie Royal. He’s fast and quick and when he’s healthy, he changes directions as quickly as anyone I’ve been around. And he has a big smile on his face because he’s been wanting to get back out here.”
Another person with a big smile on his face was Rivers, who knows what a special talent Royal is and what he will mean to this offense in 2012.
“Eddie is obviously going to be a big part of it for us,” he said. “Unfortunately, he got nicked up early in camp, so it was good to have him back out there and get him into the flow. He’s going to be smart with it though so we can have him for the opener. I’m excited about what he brings to the table.”
The enthusiasm and support that Turner, Rivers and the entire team has shown Royal has meant a lot to the receiver. After practice, he spoke glowingly about each and every one of them, expressing just how much he appreciated their encouragement the last few weeks.
“It’s been great having the players and the coaches and everybody in the organization behind me and backing me,” he said. “It really made me feel like this is a family, especially with it being my first year here. The support has been great.”Royal is not expected to play in Friday night’s game vs. the Minnesota Vikings, but hopes to get some action in the team’s final preseason game next Thursday against the San Francisco 49ers.