Every year since Adrian Phillips joined the Bolts, the team has brought in a new safety.
Every year he still manages to force his way into the lineup.
From past signings of Dwight Lowery and Tre Boston to selections of Rayshawn Jenkins and Desmond King, "AP" has proven too valuable to keep on the sideline.
It's all part of Phillips' story.
"Honestly, when they bring someone in every year, you just have to realize and tell yourself you're not in competition with anyone else that they bring in; you're in competition with yourself," he said. "I just go in there every day trying to make sure that I get better, and everything else will play out. When I show them that I can make plays, they're going to find a place to put me on the field."
So, why should things be any different now that the Chargers added Derwin James in the first round?
AP was a fan of the James selection, knowing he adds additional firepower to the defense. While some may worry what it means for their role on the team, Phillips has learned that type of mentality does no good.
"A lot of people get nervous when they add someone to (the position they play)," he said. "Like if someone gets drafted, they bring in a high draft pick, they get scared. I like the challenge because then it lets me know how good I am. It makes me take myself to another level that I never knew I had. That's why, personally, I feel like I've been doing better every year. My stats show that, and if you talk to my teammates and my coaches, they'll say the same."
After going undrafted out of Texas in 2014, the safety attended several rookie camps on a tryout basis before finally landing a contract in mid-June by the Bolts. Now, Phillips enters 2018 fresh off his most productive season to date as the Bolts used him as an extra linebacker in their base packages in addition to his usual work in sub. As a result, he finished with career-highs in tackles (63), passes defensed (five) and picks (two) in 15 games.
"I came in as a safety, and my second year in the league I was in there playing emergency nickel. Then I went to dime (packages), and there were packages when I was at corner. And last year you saw the (three-safety looks), so I just try to show them that I can do a variety of stuff, and that I can do it efficiently, and the rest plays itself out."
Thus, it should come as no surprise that the Chargers re-signed AP to a one-year deal on the first day of free agency.
With an unparalleled work ethic and an uncanny knack for the system, Phillips' value goes beyond his physical talents. He knows the defense better than anyone on the team, serving as an invaluable resource to his teammates. That includes Jenkins and James, who repeatedly praise AP for helping them get up to speed.
"Derwin and Rayshawn, they're my brothers," Phillips said. "(Competition) is just the business aspect of it, so we don't even worry about that. Once everybody comes in, we don't even talk about when people were drafted or anything like that. It's just another brother on your team that you want to help be successful because if they're playing well, it makes you look good. If you're playing well, it makes them look good. That's the main thing. You always want to get the young guys up to speed. They look to you for guidance, and you never want to be that player that tries to shut anybody out. You want to help everybody else out and you want to see them succeed."
There's no one better to help them accomplish that than Phillips.