One player to keep an eye on in 2016 is wide receiver Dontrelle Inman. A former import from the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts, Inman more than tripled his production from 2014 to 2015. His 13.9 yards per catch average in 2015 was the highest on the team and 29th-highest in the NFL among players with at least 35 catches.
Inman enjoyed a number of memorable moments in 2015. Among them, he caught his first NFL touchdown pass in historic Lambeau Field. He was on the receiving end of the pass that put Philip Rivers over 40,000 yards for his career. And during a Christmas Eve game in Oakland, the wide receiver had to play free safety in overtime after injuries had decimated the Bolts’ secondary.
Inman originally came to the NFL in 2011. He signed with Jacksonville, but due to the NFL Lockout, there was no offseason program and Inman went to training camp far behind the team’s veterans. After being released, Inman caught on with the Argonauts, where he played two seasons (2012-13) and won a Grey Cup championship in 2012. In Toronto, Inman was coached by former NFL quarterback Scott Milanovich, who was a good friend of former Chargers Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich. Looking to return to the NFL, Milanovich gave Reich a glowing recommendation and Inman joined the Chargers in 2014.
Inman earned a spot on the 2014 opening day roster after a preseason that included a 100-yard game against Dallas, highlighted by a 70-yard over-the-shoulder touchdown catch. Once the regular season rolled around however, his playing time was sporadic. Then during a late December game in San Francisco with the team’s postseason hopes on the line, Inman was inserted into the lineup early in the second half of a game the Chargers trailed by 21 points. He made a fingertip catch on the first ball thrown his way and finished the night with seven catches for 79 yards. It included a 17-yard catch on a fourth-down play late in the fourth quarter that was part of a game-tying touchdown drive. The Chargers rallied to defeat the 49ers in overtime, 38-35, matching the greatest comeback in franchise history.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Signed with Jacksonville, July 28, 2011...waived Sept. 3...signed with Chargers, Feb. 3, 2014...re-signed March 12, 2016.
2015: Took over at wide receiver for injured Malcom Floyd Oct. 4 vs. Cleveland and racked up season-high 88 yards on three catches...included season-long 68-yard catch-and-run to Browns’ one on 3rd-and-5 play that set up touchdown for 27-19 lead in eventual 30-27 victory...first NFL touchdown catch, floating one-yarder on 4th-and-goal on final play of first half Oct. 18 at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field...two-yard touchdown catch on 3rd-and-goal for Bolts’ first points of game in 31-25 win at Jacksonville Nov. 29...during second-quarter touchdown drive that gave Bolts 14-9 lead, had 17-yard catch on 3rd-and-4 followed by 23-yard catch that put Philip Rivers over 40,000 yards for his career...suffered neck injury at end of 15-yard catch on 3rd-and-14 play early Dec. 6 vs. Denver and did not return...inactive Dec. 13 at Kansas City...three catches for 78 yards (26.0 avg.), all on scoring drives, Dec. 20 vs. Miami...seven-yard touchdown reception among season-high eight catches for 82 yards Dec. 24 at Oakland...in overtime, pressed into duty as free safety after injuries left Chargers without enough defensive backs.
2014: NFL debut Sept. 14 vs. Seattle...helped Chargers to 38-35 overtime win vs. San Francisco in Dec. 20 nationally-televised night game at Levi’s Stadium...inserted into lineup in third quarter and responded with seven catches and 79 yards on nine targets...17-yard 4th-and-10 catch with 54 seconds left during late fourth-quarter game-tying touchdown drive...paced team with five catches, good for 79 yards, Dec. 28 at Kansas City.
CFL: Fifty catches for 803 yards (16.1 avg.) and five touchdowns for Grey Cup champions as rookie in 2012...50 catches for 739 yards and six TDs in 2013.
COLLEGE: As senior, posted second-best receiving game in school history with 239 yards against Duke...played in 45 career games, totaling 78 catches for 1,098 yards and three touchdowns...played at Virginia from 2007-10...digital art major.
PERSONAL: Born in Charleston, South Carolina...honorable mention all-state and AA Player of Year by The State newspaper as junior at Batesburg-Leesville (S.C.) High School.