One of the NFL’s top outside linebackers, the Chargers made sure the unrestricted free agent-to-be wasn’t going to get away by placing the franchise tag on him.
Ingram has logged 18.5 sacks over the last two seasons, tied for 12th in the NFL during that span. Ingram had a breakout season in 2015 when he led the team with 10.5 sacks, 19 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and 29 quarterback hits. He became the first Chargers’ player to record a double-digit sack season since 2011, and he tied for 12th in the NFL in sacks. Ingram closed out the year by recording a sack in five straight games and had nine in the Bolts’ last nine games.
Last season was much of the same for Ingram. He finished second on the squad with eight sacks and 42 pressures, but he led the team with 23 quarterback hits.
One of the reasons Ingram has become a valuable commodity is his ability to remain on the field. While injuries have wreaked havoc on the Bolts in recent years, Ingram has started 39 straight games, including all 16 each of the last two seasons. Besides participating in the Chargers’ offseason conditioning program, Ingram works with a private trainer in Miami who strictly monitors his diet while overseeing an intense workout program that includes heavy cardio and boxing. He’s also taught Ingram to replace fatty meats, starches and carbohydrates with proteins and vegetables. As a result, Ingram weighs almost 20 pounds less than he did in college, and his body-fat percentage is less than eight percent.
Ever since his second NFL season in 2013, the Chargers have known that Ingram is a special talent. That year, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during an early offseason practice. A medical marvel, Ingram had surgery and returned to the field in early December, just five months removed from the injury, and he helped boost the Chargers into the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Bolts went 4-0 down the stretch with Ingram back on the field and they won their first playoff game since 2008. In that playoff victory, a wild card win in Cincinnati, Ingram was outstanding as he collected his first NFL interception and he led the team with four quarterback pressures.
Off the field, Ingram is an up-and-coming rap musician who goes by the name “Supamel.” Ingram has released two full-length mixtapes, “Franchise Tag” and “From Nothing to Something.” One of his favorite songs is called “Pops.” It is a tribute to his late father, George Melvin Ingram Jr., who died of a massive heart attack in 1998. It was Ingram’s father who many years ago predicted that his infant son would one day play in the NFL.
Following his father’s passing, Ingram’s mom, Nancy, raised him and his two older sisters as a single parent. At Richmond County High School in his native Rockingham, N.C., Ingram became a football star and three-year starter at point guard for the school’s basketball team where he earned the nickname “SupaMelvin.” So gifted was Ingram that he once walked out of a high school math class so he could go to the school’s gym to break the hang-clean record in his school clothes. After a brief warmup, he did so with a lift of 380 pounds, five more than the previous school record. And before the 2006 Shrine Bowl AllStar Game featuring the top high school seniors from North and South Carolina, Ingram threw the fastest pass during a pregame carnival, posting the fastest throws with both his left and right hands. Ingram can also perform a standing back-flip, spin a football in his hand and dunk it over a crossbar, dunk a basketball with ease and throw a football more than 70 yards without taking a step.
In 2015, Ingram launched the nonprofit foundation, “Mission Possible.” Its purpose is to provide inner-city and low-income children with additional educational opportunities and resources. A celebrity waiter event is the foundation’s signature event. Last year, the event raised more than $120,000.
Another cause that is important to Ingram is domestic violence. In 2015, Ingram joined professional skateboarder Tony Hawk and BMX Champion Alise Post in a public service announcement designed to combat domestic violence.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: First-round pick (18), April 26, 2012...signed May 11.
2017: Selected to his first Pro Bowl, replacing Los Angeles Chargers DE Joey Bosa after initially being named as an alternate…Named AFC Defensive Player of the Month for September…Led the conference with 5.5 sacks and 16 tackles (13 solo) in three games in the season’s opening month...Started all 16 contests, posting 76 tackles (50 solo), 10.5 sacks, 22.5 tackles for loss, a pass defensed, a forced fumble and two recoveries, including one he returned 39 yards for the first TD of his career....His 10.5 sacks ranked tied for sixth in the AFC and tied for No. 15 in the NFL in 2017…His 7.5 sacks in the first five weeks were the most through five games in Chargers history...Registered the most defensive snaps among all Los Angeles pass rushers with 891...Part of a defensive unit that ranked tied for fifth in the NFL with 43 sacks…Combined with DE Joey Bosa (12.5 sacks), was the No. 2 sack duo in the NFL with 23 sacks between the two of them…Awards: Pro Bowl Selection (First)…AFC Defensive Player of the Month (September)...at Denver (Sept. 11): Started at DE, playing 60 plays on defense...Posted four tackles (three solo) and 1.5 sacks...Registered the 1.5 sacks on back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter...Split the first with DE Joey Bosa, collapsing the pocket from both ends to bring down QB Trevor Siemian to force third-and-13...Followed up with a sack of Siemian on the next play, forcing a Denver field goal attempt that was missed by K Brandon McManus...vs. Miami (Sept. 17): Posted six tackles (four solo) and a sack after opening the game at DE...Appeared on 50 defensive plays and five on special teams...vs. Kansas City (Sept. 24): Became the ninth player to reach 30 sacks in a Chargers uniform after posting six solo tackles, including a career-high three sacks...Began his career day by beating T Mitchell Schwartz with a bull rush to get to QB Alex Smith for a two-yard loss in the second quarter...On the final play of the third quarter, lined up just inside of DE Joey Bosa, running a stunt with Bosa to slip around the offensive line as he brought down Smith for an 11-yard loss...Midway through the fourth quarter, sped past two offensive linemen to post a five-yard sack of Smith...vs. Philadelphia (Oct. 1): Appeared in his 65th career game, starting at DE, contributing on 67 plays on defense and six on special teams...Registered six tackles (four solo) and a tackle for loss for the third-straight game…at New York Giants (Oct. 8): Continued to harass opposing quarterbacks, sacking QB Eli Manning twice, including a strip-sack that he recovered to set up the game-winning TD pass from QB Philip Rivers to RB Melvin Gordon…On the play, slipped through two blockers to spin Manning to the ground, knocking the ball free…Dove into a pile of players to corral the loose ball for his first recovery of the season…Finished with eight tackles (six solo), two sacks, three tackles for loss, a forced fumble and the recovery…Saw action on 60 defensive snaps and two on special teams…at Oakland (Oct. 15): Started at DE and played 50 defensive snaps…Posted four tackles (two solo) and a tackle for loss, marking the sixth game of the season with a tackle for loss…vs. Denver (Oct. 22): Started at DE, seeing action on 51 defensive snaps…Posted four tackles (three solo), an eight-yard sack and two tackles for loss…Dropped RB C.J. Anderson for a two-yard loss in the second quarter, chasing him down from behind…Pushed T Garrett Bolles back with a bull rush into QB Trevor Siemian that resulted in the eight-yard sack…at New England (Oct. 29): Started at DE, seeing action on 78 plays on defense…Finished with three tackles (two solo)…Forced QB Tom Brady to roll to his right before DT Darius Philon registered a seven-yard sack in the fourth quarter…at Jacksonville (Nov. 12): Played 80 defensive snaps after starting the game at DE…It marked the 70th game played of his career…Posted four tackles (two solo) and a tackle for loss…Provided pressure with DE Joey Bosa in the fourth quarter to force QB Blake Bortles to throw off of his back foot, resulting in an INT by S Tre Boston…vs. Buffalo (Nov. 19): Recovered a fumble by QB Tyrod Taylor on a strip-sack by DE Joey Bosa and returned it 39 yards for the first score of his professional career…Along with Bosa, pressured QB Nathan Peterman in the first quarter to throw an INT to CB Casey Hayward…Started at DE and played 40 defensive snaps and four on special teams, registering a solo tackle, a tackle for loss and the fumble recovery…at Dallas (Nov. 23): Started at DE, playing 44 snaps on defense…Finished with a solo tackle and a tackle for loss…In the first quarter, collapsed the pocket with DE Joey Bosa to force QB Dak Prescott to step up into a sack by DT Corey Liuget…Coupled with Bosa, forced Prescott to roll to his left and throw a pass intended for WR Cole Beasley that was picked off by CB Desmond King and returned 90 yards for a TD…vs. Cleveland (Dec. 3): Opened the game at DE and played 57 snaps on defense…Registered five tackles (three solo), including two tackles for loss…Penetrated the backfield on a fourth-and-one in the second quarter, bringing down RB Duke Johnson Jr., for a two-yard loss…Applied pressure to QB DeShone Kizer late in the fourth quarter, forcing the quarterback to make a difficult pass that was picked off by S Adrian Phillips to seal the game…vs. Washington (Dec. 10): Started at DE, posting seven tackles (two solo), 1.5 tackles for loss and a half-sack…Collapsed the pocket in the fourth quarter with a bull rush of T Trent Williams, meeting DT Corey Liuget to bring down QB Kirk Cousins for the half-sack…Played 36 defensive snaps…at Kansas City (Dec. 16): Appeared in the 75th game of his career, starting at DE and playing 61 snaps on defense…Posted seven tackles (six solo), two tackles for loss, a sack and a pass defensed, his first of the season…Registered his 10th sack of the season, running a stunt with DT Darius Philon in the first quarter to burst through the middle of the offensive line to bring down QB Alex Smith for an eight-yard loss…at New York Jets (Dec. 24): Posted four tackles (three solo) and a tackle for loss…Started at DE and played 58 snaps on defense…vs. Oakland (Dec. 31): Saw action on all 54 defensive plays after opening the game at DE…Finished with five tackles (two solo) and a half-sack…Sped past T David Sharpe around the edge, meeting DT Darius Philon in the backfield to split a sack of QB Derek Carr.
2016: Team Captain replacement for injured Manti Te’o...two sacks in 38-14 win vs. Jacksonville Sept. 18, including sack-fumble that was recovered by Corey Liuget...team-high six pressures Sept. 25 at Indianapolis...10-yard sack back to New Orleans’ two 3rd-and-9 play to cap late second quarter three-and-out Oct. 2...Bolts scored TD on ensuing possession for 24-14 lead...Oct. 23 in 33-30 OT win at Atlanta, big hit on tackle for no gain and 3rddown pressure and QB hit helped force field goal try on Falcons’ opening possession of game then ater ended first half with seven-yard sack vs. Matt Ryan...in overtime, teamed with Tenny Palepoi for key two-yard tackle for loss...three plays later, Bolts stopped Falcons on downs before winning game on 42-yard FG...tied career high and paced Bolts with 10 stops and tied for team high with three pressures against Falcons...late second quarter Oct. 30 at Denver, nine-yard sack and Joey Bosa forced fumble on play, which was recovered by Tenny Palepoi, to prevent potential score on 3rd-and-6 play at Chargers’ seven...nine-yard sack and forced fumble to force punt on 3rd-and-5 on opening defensive series Nov. 13 vs. Miami...led team with four pressures and three QB hits vs. Dolphins...late fourth-quarter seven-yard sack on 3rd-and-8 to force FG try Dec. 18 vs. Oakland...in first quarter vs. Raiders, had forced fumble vs. Latavius Murray at Chargers’ 10 that was recovered by Kyle Emanuel and another FF vs. Murray at end of four-yard TFL that went out of bounds...helped cap late fourth-quarter threeand-out Dec. 24 at Cleveland with 10-yard sack on 3rd-and-8...also contributed four pressures to lead linebackers.
2015: Pressure and quarterback hit Sept. 13 vs. Detroit led to fluttered pass that was intercepted by Kyle Emanuel...Team Captain Sept. 20 at Cincinnati...first multi-sack game (1.5) and team-high three TFLs in 30-27 win over Cleveland Oct. 4...early in first quarter, shared eight-yard sack and after stripping Josh McCown on play, raced toward sideline and recovered fumble...1.5 sacks, three pressures and team-high three QB hits Nov. 1 at Baltimore...mid-third quarter vs. Ravens had pressures on three consecutive plays to force punt...sack and forced fumble Nov. 9 vs. Chicago...season-high 2.5 sacks Dec. 20 vs. Miami, along with team-high four quarterback hits and forced fumble...on Miami’s last possession of first half, 10-yard sack and forced fumble after huge hit on quarterback Ryan Tannehill...in third quarter, helped force three-and-out on Miami’s first possession with shared 11-yard sack on 3rd-and-9, then on Dolphins’ next possession helped force another three-and-out with eight-yard sack on first down...sack Jan. 3 at Denver to raise season total to 10.5...in first half vs. Broncos, hit Brock Osweiler’s arm while attempting pass...ball fluttered and was intercepted and returned 39 yards by Adrian Phillips.
2014: Led team with three quarterback pressures, while adding three-yard tackle for loss, nine-yard sack and forced fumble in Sept. 14 win over defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle...injured hip late in game...placed on “Reserve-Injured” with designation for return, Sept. 20...returned Nov. 16 vs. Oakland...Team Captain had team and season-high 10 tackles, including sack and three tackles for loss, Dec. 7 vs. New England...Dec. 14 vs. Denver, had sack and forced fumble vs. Peyton Manning...sack and team-high three quarterback hits Dec. 28 at Kansas City.
2013: “Physically Unable to Perform” Weeks 1-12 (torn left ACL)...returned Dec. 8 vs. N.Y. Giants...first start of season Dec. 22 vs. Oakland and collected sack, along with forced fumble...team-high three pressures in Dec. 29 win over Chiefs that put Bolts in playoffs...first-career interception and team-high four pressures in Jan. 5 Wild Card Playoff win at Cincinnati.
2012: NFL debut Sept. 10 at Oakland...ended Raiders’ first series with forced fumble...later played key role in aborted play that resulted in 25-yard loss, leading to punt and touchdown on ensuing possession for 10-3 lead...late in fourth quarter, onside kick recovery sealed 22-14 victory...team-high three pressures and first-NFL sack Oct. 28 at Cleveland...first NFL start Nov. 18 at Denver...team and season-high four special teams tackles Dec. 30 vs. Oakland.
COLLEGE: First-team All-America and team captain as senior...was just third consensus All-America in school history and first since 1984...first-team All-SEC...three-time SEC Player of Week in 2011...tied school record with 10 sacks in 2011, third-most in SEC and 13th in nation...also had 15 tackles for loss, third in school history and fifth in conference...led team and ranked third in SEC with nine sacks as junior...finished career with 109 tackles, 21.5 sacks, 30.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions...were fourth-most sacks and fifth-most tackles for loss in school history...redshirted in 2008...played at South Carolina in 2007 and from 2009-11...degree in African-American studies.
PERSONAL: Born in Hamlet, North Carolina...all-conference and all-region as senior at Richmond County High in Rockingham, N.C.