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Why Alohi Gilman's Return is Big for the Bolts Defense

Gilman FA

Alohi Gilman has quietly worked himself into one of the league's best success stories in recent years.

A 2020 sixth-round pick, Gilman has evolved from a key special teams player to a bonafide starter at safety.

He'll now continue his career with the Bolts as the team announced Wednesday that they have signed the 26-year old to a contract extension.

"It hasn't really hit me fully," Gilman told on Wednesday. "I've just been reflecting a lot on the last four years to get to this point.

"I'm excited for the future but this is just the beginning and the best is yet again," Gilman added.

Gilman will now team up again alongside Derwin James, Jr. as the Chargers starting safety tandem.

The two are a bit opposite in how they play as James is more of a versatile wrecking ball while Gilman is a steady presence on the back end.

James commented on his relationship with Gilman ahead of the 2023 season.

"It's been amazing. He's been that extra communicator, quarterback that I need, being opposite safeties," James said. "Our relationship is very important out there because we're the communicators on defense. I feel like that's even grown. He's getting better, too."

The Los Angeles Chargers today signed safety Alohi Gilman to a multi-year contract.

And while Gilman did miss three games with a nagging heel injury, he did start 14 contests and posted the highest Pro Football Focus grade of his career at 86.1.

He also displayed a nose for the ball with three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries to go along with two interceptions and 10 passes defensed.

Gilman will likely never be the flashiest player on the Bolts defense. And he's one of the more introverted players in the locker room, too, which is a product of his proud Hawaiian upbringing.

But when the lights come on, it's usually Gilman who sets the tone early with his play.

Put another way, he's going to fit in great for what Chargers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and Defensive Coordinator Jesse Minter want to do on that side of the ball.

"I've been a part of this program for four years and seen the ups and been a part of the downs," Gilman said. "I feel like I've been invested into it and I want to be a part of something on the way up.

"I'm an underdog story and you can say we've been underdogs for awhile and I want to change that," Gilman added. "I think I'm a good piece to add to that. Coach Harbaugh is all on board with that, his energy is contagious. I'm just super blessed."

Chargers fans should be fired up that No. 32 is back with the Bolts.

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