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How the Chip on His Shoulder Fuels Jahleel Addae

You want it more, especially when (you watch) two teams you played against.  We played against them and fought hard and were right in the game until the very end.  It lets me know, and lets us know, we’re not that far.  But we still have to work hard.

Watching the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII struck a chord with Jahleel Addae.  As the safety explained, the Chargers did put up fights in those two games as both losses were by one score.

But with the Super Bowl comes to the close to the 2017 season.  A season where the Bolts went 9-7, and one that was likely the best of Addae’s career as far as his individual performance.

“I was able to stay healthy for the second time in my career,” he said.  “I just thank God for that because that’s been one of the biggest knocks on my career.  Being on the field all 16 games allowed me to truly, truly show my talent.  Also, being coached in a scheme (where I was) down in that box and getting down and dirty.  That’s my type of game.  I like action, I like contact.  Being around the ball and flying around I think also contributed to that.” 

After signing a new contract last offseason, Addae finished the 2017 campaign leading the Chargers in tackles (96).  Additionally, he had seven passes defensed and nine tackles for loss along with half a sack.  But while the stats prove he performed at a high level, Addae thinks he didn’t do enough. 

“I’m never satisfied.  Being undrafted, I always have that chip on my shoulder.  That’s just in my makeup; it’s in my DNA.  No matter what I accolades I get, whatever it is, I’m always holding myself to a higher standard and setting goals for myself.”

One of those goals?  Notching 100 tackles, as he said being four short “wasn’t ideal.”  But that isn’t the only thing Addae hopes to achieve.

“Personally, I’d like to make the Pro Bowl (and be an) All-Pro one day.  I want to contribute to this team making the playoffs, winning the division and hopefully win the Super Bowl.  That’s everything every player wants.  If any player says that’s not what they want, then they’re in it for the wrong reasons….  And I need to get my hands on that ball more.  Those are my personal goals.  I know they come with time.  I know they come with hard work and preparation.”

One thing integral to the defense’s success in 2018 is the return of Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley.  Addae said it “meant everything” to get Bradley back into the fold, explaining how his success and that of the defense as whole in 2017 wouldn’t have happened without him.

“The camaraderie that he brings and just being a positive guy (is huge).  He puts us in the right situations to make plays.  He takes care of this players.  He’s not a negative guy (but) he uses negative plays as teaching moments.  He makes you actually want to go out there and play for him.”

So with Bradley back and his own personal goals on the horizon, where does Addae see the defense going in 2018?

“I see us being the top defense in the league.  We were top-five in every category this year and like I said, we’re not just going to wake up and (do it).  We have to continue to stay hungry, we have to prepare and work for it.  We have to continue to have a true love for each other.  I feel like this year we had a true, true love for each other.  Nobody really cared about who made the play, we just wanted to make a play.  I feel like if we keep that same mindset, things will be good for us.”

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