Standing at the podium during his introductory press conference, Jerry Tillery had a slight slip of the tongue during his opening statement.
"I want to thank the Spanos family, Mr. Telesco and Coach Swann for believing in me and giving me this incredible opportunity — the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Yes, you read that right – Coach Swann, as in Lynn Swann instead of Anthony Lynn.
The first round pick actually didn’t realize his mistake until his new head coach jokingly mentioned it to him in vintage Anthony Lynn fashion while the two posed for a photo.
The head coach put his hand on Tillery’s shoulder and jokingly told him he’s going to have to make it up to him.
Tillery covered his mouth, stifling a laugh.
“I told him he’s got to make that up to me!” Lynn shared with reporters after the press conference. “I told him, first of all I’m Coach Lynn, not Lynn Swann. I know you beat Lynn Swann this year, but yeah, you’ve got to make that up to me!”
It’s safe to say the Bolts believe Tillery will do just that with his play on the field.
If you needed any proof, just listen to what President of Football Operations John Spanos had to say about the team’s first round pick as he made it clear they believe he is a special talent.
“We couldn't be more excited to have Jerry joining the Chargers and what he brings to this team, both off the field and on the field,” Spanos said. “We think he's going to be an awesome fit in our defense. God doesn't make many defensive linemen who are 6-7, 300 pounds and can run (a 40-yard dash) in the 4.9s. More than those physical attributes, we love the way Jerry plays. He gets after the quarterback. He can rush the passer. He is a tough player. He plays the run well, also. Again, we just couldn't be more excited overall.”
Tillery joins the Bolts after a stellar career at Notre Dame.
The defensive tackle amassed 135 total tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks in 50 career games. He really came into his own during his junior and senior years, leading the team in sacks both seasons. In 2017, Tillery recorded a career-high 56 tackles to go along with nine tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble. He was even better a year ago, taking home Second-Team All-America honors after totaling 30 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks and three forced fumbles.
Tillery also authored some memorable games during his senior year, none more so than his dominant performance against seventh-ranked Stanford. The defensive tackle recorded four sacks, one forced fumble and another pair of QB hurries, and was named the Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week, Bronco Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week and Reese’s Senior Bowl Senior of the Week. Tillery also made headlines with a huge game in Notre Dame’s win over 14th-ranked Michigan, tallying a pair of sacks and another forced fumble.
Safe to say a few performances like that in the coming years and Lynn will consider things squared away from Friday’s hilarious gaffe.