Craig Mager played in 21 games with 10 starts for the Chargers over his first two seasons. In 2016, he played in 11 with eight starts and recorded his first NFL interception along with 29 tackles.
Many players overcome adversity to play in the NFL, but Mager has been forced to endure more than most. He grew up without a father-figure in his life and in 2007, his mom, Cathy, died suddenly, leaving Mager and his three younger sisters without a parent. The kids moved in with their maternal grandmother and Mager became the proverbial man-of-the-house. At the time, he was just 15 years old.
Mager continued to lose mentors close to him. He attended Luling (Texas) High School. Just over a year after his mother died, Luling’s Head Football Coach, Robert Dean, died suddenly of pneumonia early during his sophomore season. In January 2013, his former track coach at Luling High, William “Darrell” Jones died in a traffic accident in Gonzales County, Texas. And then in March 2014, Mager’s grandmother, the woman who took in him and his siblings after their mother died, passed away to
All of these tests of faith have made Mager a much stronger person, and it was part of the reason the team had no trepidation about taking the former Texas State cornerback in the third round of the 2015 NFL draft.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Third-round pick (83) by Chargers, May 1, 2015.
2016: First NFL interception Oct. 2 off New Orleans’ Drew Brees...paced team with two passes defensed and recovered late fourth quarter fumble in 21-13 win over Denver Oct. 13...left Atlanta game Oct. 23 with concussion...inactive Oct. 30 at Denver and Nov. 6 vs. Tennessee (concussion)...suffered stinger in first quarter Dec. 11 at Carolina and did not return...inactive Dec. 18 vs. Oakland and Dec. 24 at Cleveland...placed on “Reserve-Injured” Dec. 31.
2015: Inactive Sept. 13 vs. Detroit (hamstring)...left Minnesota game Sept. 27 early due to hamstring injury...inactive Oct. 4 vs. Cleveland, Oct. 12 vs. Pittsburgh, Oct. 18 at Green Bay, Oct. 25 vs. Oakland and Nov. 1 vs. Baltimore (hamstring)...third-down pass defensed Dec. 20 vs. Miami, driving Kenny Stills out of bounds while making catch to force incompletion and cap three-and-out.
COLLEGE: First player in school history invited to East-West Shrine Game...All-Sun Belt pick as junior and senior...team’s Supercat Award for skill players in spring workouts in 2013...honorable mention All-WAC as sophomore in 2012...Sun Belt Conference Player of Week after 2014 game vs. Idaho...school-record 79-yard punt return TD in 2012 vs. New Mexico State...finished career with 211 tackles, 47 passes defensed, 9.5 tackles for loss and two sacks...also returned 15 career punts for 251 yards and touchdown, and five kickoffs for 65 yards...redshirted in 2010...played at Texas State from 2011-14...physical therapy degree.
PERSONAL: Born in New Braunfels, Texas...2009 District 27-3A MVP and honorable mention all-state at Luling (Tex.) High...competed in basketball and track and field.