The Los Angeles Chargers announced on Wednesday that they will not exercise the option on Corey Liuget's contract.
However, that doesn't necessarily mean this is the end of the road for the long-time Charger.
"Corey's made major contributions to this organization since being our first-round selection in 2011 both on and off the field," said Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco. "He was our Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee in 2018 for a reason and you won't find a player who made a bigger contribution in the community than Corey. While we did not exercise the 2019 option in Corey's contract and he will now become a free agent on March 13, the door is certainly not closed for a possible return in the future."
The Walter Payton Man of the Year award is a prestigious honor that recognizes a player's excellence both on and off the field, mainly his impact in the community.
Liuget earned the nomination for his dedication to participating in various community events and initiatives, including his working relationship with the American Heart Association (AHA). His passion in heart health wellness stems from his son, Corey Jr., being born with multiple heart defects. Thankfully Corey Jr. is now healthy, but that hasn't stopped Liuget from continuing working with the AHA. He has donated CPR and Heart Health testing kits to local high schools, and is an ambassador for the Los Angeles American Heart Association's Community S.T.E.P.S. Program, which aims to bring law enforcement and families together to create a safe space for dialogue and physical activity.
However, Liuget's impact in the community goes beyond promoting heart wellness.
The defensive tackle has been a staple at Chargers events like TeamSmile, speaking to high school football players in the Orange County All-Star Classic and donating personally purchased tickets to the team's Community Corner. He has also visited children's hospitals on his own accord and spoke to kids in juvenile hall about the importance of second chances in life.
A South Florida native, Liuget also visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year following the tragic shooting that garnered national attention. He spoke with the football team and created a scholarship fund in memory of Stoneman Douglas Football Coach Aaron Feis.
The longest tenured member of the Bolts defense, Liuget joined the Chargers in 2011 when he was selected 18th overall out of Illinois. He appeared in 108 career games with 103 starts, totaling 237 tackles, 80.0 tackles for loss, 24.0 sacks and five forced fumbles over eight seasons. Liuget was named the Bolts' Defensive Player of the Year in 2012 when he totaled 61 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks and nine forced fumbles. Most recently, his 2018 campaign was unfortunately cut short as he suffered a season-ending knee injury after appearing in only six games.