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Fifty-Six Years of Tradition Comes to Life at Chargers Park

Chargers Hall of Famers visited Friday's practice to get the team excited for this week's matchup against the Titans for Alumni Weekend.

Philip Rivers dropped back to pass near midfield like he's done countless other times on the practice fields at Chargers Park.

The receiver he threw to was unlike any other.

The Original Lightning Bolt himself, Lance Alworth, was on the receiving end.  As "Bambi" corralled the ball, 56 years of tradition were bridged in one single pass.

"I had tears in my eyes when I walked onto the field," Alworth said moments later.  "This is a pretty special town.  It has a lot of special people in it, and there are a lot of special memories that have been here with the Chargers.  People know what it means to be a San Diego Charger.  I'm proud to call myself that.  Hopefully we keep that going."

Alworth wasn't the only former Charger visiting on Friday as Charlie Joiner, Wes Chandler and Stan Humphries were on hand as the team gets ready to celebrate their annual alumni weekend.  This year, the Bolts are honoring the 38 members of the team's Hall of Fame.

"The Chargers and the men on the field represent more than a football team to the people of San Diego," said team President A.G. Spanos.  "Generations have grown up watching this team and the memorable performances by these great athletes. The Chargers are an institution; a lifestyle. Nothing else has shown it can unite this community and create great memories the way sports teams like the Chargers have done.  And 56 years have created countless amazing memories."

Alworth, Chandler and Joiner broke down the huddle at its conclusion.  They spoke about what it meant to be a Charger and represent America's Finest City.   It was a message that resonated with current players both young and old.

"That was awesome," Tyrell Williams said.  "Especially them being wide receivers like me, to carry on that tradition is special.  To be in that position, it is indescribable."

"Seeing those guys, it puts a face to the history," Rivers added.  "It brings it to life.  I knew Charlie from his time coaching here.  I've met Lance a few times and I've seen Wes around a few times.  There have been a lot of footballs caught over a lot of years by those three. They all played for the San Diego Chargers.  That to me makes it special.  You can see it out there today.  From 1968 to the mid-80s, and Gates standing out there with them, it was all out there today.  That's special."

Those Hall of Famer wideouts combined for 1,851 career receptions.  Still, they weren't the Charger with the most career catches as that honor belongs to number 85, who has 865 and counting.

"It's an honor to be around the people who paved the way for me," Gates said. "They set the standard in San Diego for catching the ball and being productive.  If it wasn't for guys like that, I wouldn't have the opportunity that I've had to this point. It's always good to embrace them."

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