Corey Linsley isn't the longest-tenured member of the Chargers.
But the Bolts center is up there on the roster among players who have been in the league the longest.
The top distinction goes to long snapper Josh Harris, who is entering his 12th season, while Keenan Allen is on Year 11.
Linsley is part of a handful of Chargers who will hit a decade in the league in 2023, a group that includes Khalil Mack and Dustin Hopkins.
Does Linsley feel like he's entering Year 10 already?
"No, thank God," Linsley said with a laugh. "We were just talking about this. I never would have thought I would have felt his good at Year 10.
"I thought I was going to be hobbled. It's tougher to recover sometimes. I feel like I take such better care of my body now," Linsley continued. "Some of it is because you have to and some of it is because you just train smarter.
"I definitely feel a lot better than I thought I would, so I'm thankful for that, and I'm lucky to not have any major injuries," Linsley added.
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A 2014 fifth-round pick by the Packers, Linsley joined the Bolts in the 2021 offseason and has continued to establish himself as one of the game's best players at his position.
And while the Chargers have always leaned on the 31-year-old's leadership since he arrived, they will certainly do so again this year as the four other starting linemen are still relatively young — either in age or in terms of playing experience.
Right tackle Trey Pipkins III is entering Year 5 but has just one full season of starting experience. The same can be said for left guard Zion Johnson (23 years old) and right guard Jamaree Salyer (22 years old).
Left tackle Rashawn Slater is a proven player entering Year 3 but isn't even 25 years old yet.
That leaves Linsley as the elder statesman, although the center said this week that he doesn't need to do much in the way of guidance these days.
"These guys, they really do operate like vets," Linsley said. "We'll have to learn through stuff, but when it comes to not freaking out on the field and just being cool, calm and collected, Rashawn and Pip, obviously, and the guys next to me who I directly communicate with the most, those guys do an excellent job of that.
"None of the 'yips,' the rookie jitters or anything. Those guys have been great," Linsley added.
Linsley said Wednesday that the group — which has never started a game together — is growing closer and closer this offseason.
And he made it clear what the unit's top priority is for the 2023 season.
"I think, overall, it's really obvious. The run game lacked," Linsley said. "Protection game, I think we can be better. That's what this offseason, a lot of it has been about, from a protection standpoint. The communication, the simplification of everything. Also, just relying on our instincts more and helping out everybody as much as we can. I feel like we're making a lot of improvement, even right now.
"The run game, we'll take accountability for that. I'm sure you could pick it apart to a bunch of different reasons, but ultimately, up front, that's something that we take pride in," Linsley continued. "We want to run the ball. Every O-Line in the NFL wants to run the ball.
"For us to fall significantly below our standard, I think that's in the back of our mind and has been," Linsley added. "That will be a key point for us all throughout camp and continuing on in the season."
As Linsley enters Year 10, his focus will be on helping the Chargers have one of the league's most prolific offenses both on the ground and through the air.
But he also had big-picture team goals in mind, too, including setting a championship standard across the entire organization.
"That's what I'm trying to do here and what all the leaders of our team are trying to do," Linsley said. "We expect to do this. We expect to make the playoffs. We expect to get to the championship.
"I feel like we have done a good job," Linsley added. "[Chargers Head] Coach [Brandon] Staley and top-down … we've done a good job of those are our expectations. This is the standard. We just have to go and do it."
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