Eric Kendricks is back in his home state and will play his home games roughly 20 miles from where he starred in college.
And in a nod to his UCLA days, the Chargers new linebacker will wear the number he donned for the Bruins.
Kendricks appeared with Kay Adams on her "Up & Adams" show earlier this week and announced that he will wear No. 6 for the Bolts.
That number was previously worn by Chargers kicker Dustin Hopkins, but the new teammates came together for a great cause in order for Kendricks to change digits.
Instead of paying Hopkins (as is usually the case in the NFL), Kendricks is going to donate to The Well Foundation, which was started by Hopkins and his wife, Gabby, and focuses on special children with special needs.
Hopkins' son, Wake, is on the autism spectrum. Hopkins supported his son during the league's My Cause My Cleats initiative last season.
Kendricks said he jumped at the chance to help out when the two connected.
"It's to help kids with special needs and families with special needs," Kendricks said of The Well Foundation. "It's inspired by his son, who is on the autism spectrum.
"When he told me that, I was like, 'This is amazing. I want to donate.' It's great for me to get the number andspread awareness," Kendricks added. "I want to encourage other people, Chargers fans, NFL fans, to donate as well."
Kendricks, who spent the first eight years of his career with the Vikings, played his first NFL game in 2015 — the same year Hopkins did.
"It was a great situation," Kendricks said. "I didn't want to come in and just take the number.
"I know he's a vet … so us working together and doing this for the greater good is the best-case scenario," Kendricks added.
The NFL changed a rule in 2021 that allowed players to switch to single-digit jersey numbers if they played a certain position.
Kendricks said he nearly switched to No. 6 then but opted against it.
"I almost changed to No. 6 in Minnesota but decided not to," Kendricks said. "But I said that if I ever changed teams, I'd try to get No. 6.
"So as soon as I got with the Chargers, I said, 'Man, I'm going to try to get No. 6.' Dustin Hopkins had No. 6 so I messaged him," Kendricks added. "[I said], 'Hey, I'm coming back to my home state and it'd mean a lot to me to have No. 6."
The end result was a win-win for Kendricks, who will don No. 6 and support a worthy cause in the process.
Kendricks starred at UCLA nearly a decade ago, earning Second-Team All-America and Second-Team All-Pac-12 honors in 2014. He led the FBS is solo tackles and became UCLA's first Butkus Award winner as the nation's best linebacker.
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