It's never easy to lose a player to injury.
Too often this year, the Chargers have had to regroup and move on after losing an impact player for the year.
That was once again the case on Monday as Head Coach Mike McCoy announced that nose tackle Brandon Mebane suffered a biceps injury that will end his season. The more McCoy talked, the clearer it became just how big of a blow losing the defensive captain is for the Bolts in a season full of them.
Mebane was in the midst of a phenomenal season as his 35 total tackles led all Chargers defensive linemen. He also recorded 15 pressures, six QB hits, four tackles for loss, one sack and his first career interception. Equally important, the Bolts will miss his impact off the field just as much.
"That was as tough as it gets this morning when he walked up (and got the news)," McCoy said. "We've all been talking about what a great addition he was to our roster this offseason, and the leadership that he's brought to the room. His work ethic; you see how (Defensive Line Coach) Giff (Smith) and all the defensive linemen work every day. (It's important) when you have a player like him leading the group every day, showing the young guys how to do it. Corey (Liuget) has done a great job also, and I think he's learned a lot from him. When you have a talented player like (Brandon), it makes everyone better. He's a pro; he just shows up every single day. His message to the team on a weekly basis is special. He's a special player, and an even better person. It's a tough loss."
"It's a brutal injury for us and tough because he's one of the best football players on our team" fellow defensive captain Melvin Ingram said. "To see him go down, it's tough. We have to have a next man up mentality and believe in guys to step up, but it's hard to see him go down."
One of those players who will be counted on to elevate his game is Damion Square. Eager for the opportunity, it pains him that it came the expense of his close friend.
"In my career, it's the first time I've been around someone with the type of experience he has in this game," Square said. "Just the way he plays and the confidence he has; it rubs off on me. He was the person I really needed to come through at this moment in time. To see something happen to him like that, it's tough. You don't want to see that happen to a guy you go to war with every day. I'm going to miss my guy out there."
Those same sentiments were shared by defensive tackle Tenny Palepoi.
"It sucks. He brought a lot of nastiness and knowledge of the game into our room. It's horrible news. The impact that Mebane has had on our defense, for him to go out is horrible news. He brought an edge to this defense and our defensive line that we were able to play at a high level because of him. We're going to go out and keep playing that way for him."