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.
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.