The first defensive player the Chargers agreed to terms with during free agency was one of their own.
Cornerback Michael Davis will return to Los Angeles on a multi-year contract, the team announced on Monday. The Glendale native, who began his NFL career with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2017, has developed into a dependable starter.
New head coach Brandon Staley sees even more.
"Staley just told me that they're going to try to maximize my talents," Davis said. "They're going to work with me and try to maximize my potential. That's about it. That's what I'm hoping for – I'm hoping that he can take my game to the next level."
Davis has made 35 starts over the last three seasons. In 2020, he led the team in passes defended (14) and interceptions (3).
In Week 4 against the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Davis picked off Tom Brady and returned it 78 yards for a touchdown. It wasn't until the following week, though, that Davis said he started to play his best ball.
"In my mind, it might have been the Saints game" he said. "Up until the Saints game, I was struggling a little bit with consistency. Then, after the Saints game, I think that's when everything clicked. That's when everything came together and I started performing at my highest, at my best. Since then, I was like, 'You know what? I actually have a chance to get an extra contract and hopefully stay with the Chargers.'"
Davis, who turned 26 in January, credits former defensive backs coach Ron Milus for developing him into the player he is today. The BYU product said he "wasn't really a corner yet" until Milus became his coach.
Things will be different for Davis in 2021. Four years ago he was fighting for a roster spot. Now, he's now the longest-tenured member of the Chargers secondary.
Former coaches and teammates have moved on. But as he enters the prime of his career, Davis has an opportunity – with an assist from the new staff – "to take it to the next level with my game."
He'll also have a trio of Pro Bowlers to help him get there.
"We're getting D.J. [S Derwin James Jr.] back" he said. "There will be me, D.J. – obviously, we still have [CB] Chris Harris [Jr.]. We have [DE] Joey [Bosa]. I think our defense is still going to be stacked. We're still a young defense, and I think we can come out and kick some ass."
Take a look back at the best photos of corner back Michael Davis' first four seasons with the Chargers.
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