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Bolts Bring Back Popular RB Branden Oliver

Branden Oliver emerged as a fan favorite in 2014 as the hardworking, undrafted rookie came out of nowhere to lead the Bolts in rushing.

On Thursday, the popular running back inked a one-year deal to return to the Chargers.

Oliver burst onto the scene as a rookie when injuries thrust him into action after he defied the odds to make the 53-man roster.  He appeared in 14 games with seven starts, rushing for 582 yards and three touchdowns along with 36 receptions for 271 yards and another score.

The 5-8, 208-pound Oliver sparked the Bolts to a 31-0 Week 5 victory over the New York Jets, earning Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors after rushing for 114 yards and scoring two touchdowns against the NFL's top ranked rushing defense.  During the win, Oliver became the first Charger with a 50-yard catch and a 50-yard run in the same game since Lionel "Little Train" James in 1985.  He was the first NFL rookie to accomplish that feat since Clinton Portis in 2002.  

Oliver followed that up with his second straight Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week award after rushing for 101 yards against the Oakland Raiders. He cemented the win by bullying his way into the end zone for the game winning touchdown with 1:56 remaining.

Unfortunately, the running back missed the past year and half after suffering a pair of injuries.  The first was a toe injury on Nov. 1, 2015 against the Baltimore Ravens.  Then, after an impressive start to training camp last season, he ruptured his Achilles in the third preseason game and was lost for the entire year.

In addition to his prowess as a jack of all trades running back, Oliver is a proven special teams performer as well. He served as the team's primary kickoff returner in 2015, averaging 24.6 yards per return before being placed on the reserve-injured list.

The Chargers also announced that safety Adrian Phillips signed his Exclusive Rights tender.  Phillips appeared in 14 games with six starts last season, notching 40 tackles, three passes defensed and one interception.

Take a look through the top photos from Branden Oliver's career with the Chargers.

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