The Chargers made one of their most valuable additions last May when they signed former Chicago Bears center and guard Matt Slauson.
A former sixth-round pick of the New York Jets who spent four years in New York and three in Chicago, Slauson was named the Chargers’ co-lineman of the year in his first season with the team. The accolades weren’t a surprise considering Slauson’s reputation in Chicago where he was a popular figure on the field and inside the locker room who received the 2015 Good Guy Award, presented by members of the Chicago media.
Slauson started all 16 games for the Chargers at center, providing stability at a position that had been racked by injury. His leadership in the middle of the offensive line helped lead to Pro Bowl honors for quarterback Philip Rivers and running back Melvin Gordon.
Slauson is one of the NFL’s strongest players. He can squat nearly 700 pounds, and in Chicago, he set a team record with a 397-pound clean and jerk.
Slauson comes from an extremely tight-knit family. His older brother, Chris, graduated from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., and now flies C-17 jets as a Major in the Air Force. When Slauson was in high school, the family relocated from Sweet Home, Ore., to Colorado Springs so they could be closer together. Slauson has supported the military throughout his NFL career, and in 2015, the Bears nominated him for the NFL’s Salute to Service Award for his commitment to helping military members and their families.
Slauson comes from a family of swimmers. His mother, Nancy, has battled Multiple Sclerosis for the last 20 years, but a strict regimen inside the pool has helped her stave off the effects of the disease. All of the Slauson kids swam as youths, including older twin brother, Nick, who won multiple state championships and gold medals in swimming, despite challenges he faced growing up due to a prenatal brain injury.
Slauson overcame his own challenges as well. He has battled a stuttering impediment his whole life, and he didn’t learn to read until age 10. Often bullied as a youth because of the stuttering and his larger-than-average size, Slauson has become a spokesperson for anti-bullying efforts as an adult.
Slauson spent his early years growing up in Oregon where his family owned a small farm. Slauson and his wife, Cami, his college sweetheart from Nebraska, recently bought a home and small farm not far from the Lincoln, Neb., campus. The Slausons have three children – sons Montgomery and Winston, and daughter Charleigh.
Slauson enjoys riding motorcycles, fishing, and farming in his free time. He owns a couple of Harley-Davidson bikes and has considered going to trade school to learn to become a motorcycle mechanic after his football-playing days come to an end.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Sixth-round pick by New York Jets (193rd overall), April 26, 2009...signed May 19...re-signed with Jets, Aug. 1, 2012...contract expired, March 12, 2013...signed with Chicago, April 2...re-signed with Bears, Jan. 2, 2014...released May 2, 2016...signed two-year contract with Chargers, 16, 2016.
2016: Chargers co-Lineman of Year...starting center helped Chargers rush for 150-plus yards in Weeks 1 (155 at Kansas City) and 2 (150 yards vs. Jacksonville)...Team Captain Week 2 vs. Jacksonville...marked team’s first back-to-back 150-yard games since 2007 and first back-to-back 150-yard games to open season since 2006...helped Chargers rush for season-high 208 yards in 43-35 win over Tennessee Nov. 6...line also allowed just one sack in 34 dropbacks as Philip Rivers threw for 275 yards and two TDs...played in 100th career game Dec. 4 vs. Tampa Bay...100th-career start Dec. 24 at Cleveland, but left game with foot injury in second quarter and did not return.
2015: Started Games 1-6 and 10-15 at left guard...took over at center for Will Montgomery Oct. 4 vs. Oakland...started Games 7-9 and 16 at center.
2014: Ed Block Courage Award...inactive Weeks 2-4 (ankle)...pectoral injury Oct. 26 at New England...placed on “Reserve-Injured” Nov. 8.
2013: USA Today All-Joe...started all 16 games at left guard for offense that set franchise records for net yards and first downs...offensive line allowed Bears’ lowest sack percentage since 1982.
2012: Started all 16 games and did not allow sack while playing 100 percent of team’s offensive snaps.
2011: Recovered fumble in end zone for touchdown Nov. 17 at Denver.
2010: Started all 16 games as Jets rushed for 2,374 yards, fourth-most in NFL, and allowed eighth-fewest sacks...started all three postseason games.
2009: NFL debut Dec. 3 at Buffalo.
COLLEGE: Associated Press second-team All-Big 12 as senior and sophomore...honorable mention as junior...played in 45 career games with 35 starts...started games at right tackle, left tackle and right guard during career...played at Nebraska from 2005-08...sociology major.
PERSONAL: Born in Portland, Ore. ...began prep career at Sweet Home (Ore.) High...spent 2003 school year at Air Academy High in Colorado Springs and 2004 school year at Air Force Prep in Colorado Springs...also lettered in basketball, track and swimming