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The Force is Strong with Joshua Palmer
The rookie receiver talks his journey from growing up in Canada to playing in the NFL, and of course, Star Wars.
By Hayley Elwood Nov 11, 2021

When a Chargers practice ends, it's really just the beginning for Joshua Palmer.

That's when the rookie receiver spends nearly an hour by himself working on his craft at the JUGS machine or with a blocking sled.

That extra work is all about preparing and "waiting for his moment" - and that moment came in the form of his first NFL touchdown in Week 8 against the New England Patriots.

Recently, I caught up with the third-round pick to discuss growing up in Canada, his new life as a Charger, the influence Star Wars has had on his life, and more.

Week 10 of your rookie season is here, I'm sure it's gone by fast, but how are you feeling right now?

Joshua Palmer: I feel good. I'm learning a lot which was basically my angle this season, learn as much as I can from the veterans. Keenan [Allen's] helping me a lot. Mike [Williams] is helping me a lot. I tell people all the time, they're the greatest mentors on the field, so I need to take advantage.

What does it mean to have those guys in the room with you?

Palmer: It means a lot. Every time I come into work, I know I'm gonna learn something new. Keenan's very welcoming whenever I ask him something. We've created a good bond between him and me. Mike just helps me whenever he can. Obviously, they have different games, but I learn different things from both of them.

You always seem to be one of the last guys – if not the last guy – out here working after practice. Where does that work ethic come from?

Palmer: It came from Tennessee. What you see me do now, I've been doing for the last three or four years. It was nothing new, I just wanted to develop great habits so when I came here, it was nothing that I had to turn on. So it was just something that's always helped me a lot. It's extra work and it goes a long way. I look forward to it every time after practice. Especially in college, I looked forward to coming after and doing extra stuff like catching off the JUGS machine. I know it's gonna pay off.

When you talk about "looking forward to it," is it a Zen-thing? What is it that you like so much about being by yourself and going through the motions?

Palmer: It's a confidence booster for sure. I come up and I rep the things I want to work on. I catch as many balls as I can after practice so I go into the game knowing I can catch. As a receiver, you have the confidence you can catch, but it's the reassurance, and every day, I like to reassure myself that I do this.

Talk to me about that touchdown catch against the Pats. What was it like getting your first NFL touchdown?

Palmer: It was definitely exciting after the fact, cause during the fact, you're just trying to focus on trying to win the game. I was just trying to help the team as best as I could. The one thing I tell myself a lot is: the play doesn't care who makes it. So I went out there and there was an opportunity to make a play and help the team win. But, it would have hit better if we kicked a field goal to tie the game! But it was still great seeing the support from back home.

You mentioned hearing from people back home on the touchdown. You grew up in Canada, how special was it hearing from your friends and family?

Palmer: I got a lot of text messages. Apparently my dad fainted, from what my sister told me.

Really?! Is he okay?

Palmer: Yeah, he's good! But just the friends and family are happy. It was a big one, my first touchdown in the NFL and I'm looking forward to getting better.

What was it like growing up in Canada?

Palmer: It was great. Sometimes my boys and me talk about the memories growing up; high school football. Playing high school football in Canada is way different than playing high school football in Florida. But it was fun. The guys I was around were comedians and just the bond I had with my friends out there was fun.

What makes the game so different?

Palmer: The style. When I got to Florida [St. Thomas Aquinas] it's a lot faster, a lot more physical, and was good prep for college. It's a different game. My game went to a better level in Florida. I played with Zont [Asante Samuel Jr.], played with great DBs and learned from great receivers who were there too, at the time.

When you talk about Canadians in the NFL, there are a bunch here at the Chargers! Did you know any of them?

(Canadian players on the Bolts: Palmer, CB Tevaughn Campbell, DL Christian Covington, LB Amen Ogbongbemiga, and PS Guard Ryan Hunter.)

Palmer: Didn't know any of them before, but we don't talk about it much, but we just know. With TC [Campbell], where we were raised isn't that far in proximity. I was in Brampton, he was in Scarborough, Toronto. I can say anything to him Canadian and he'll get it.

What would you say to him? What's a Canadian thing us Americans might not know?

Palmer: Just the slang is different. The local rappers there are different. What we eat is different.

What's your favorite thing to eat back home?

Palmer: Poutine.

What do you think about living in Southern California?

Palmer: It's cool. I enjoy it. Sometimes, like when I'm driving to work, I just say like, 'Wow, I'm really playing football and living in California.' I try to soak it in sometimes because I don't focus on it a lot; I'm trying to focus on my job and getting better as a player. I don't really let myself take it in as much as I could but it keeps me grounded and humble.

Last couple final fun questions here, big Star Wars fan?

Palmer: Yeah.  (Palmer reveals a Darth Vader tattoo on his leg.)  It says, 'Be careful not to choke on your aspirations.'  Darth Vader said it in Rogue One. I just related to that well; don't ask for things you can't handle.  So just wait and be patient.  Sometimes people try to bite off a bigger bone than they can handle. So I just try to live my life waiting for my moment but being prepared for my moment.

I read your dad kind of described you as Darth Vader; mechanical on the field with the helmet on. Come off the field, take the helmet off, and there's a person there.

Palmer: When we're on the sideline, I joke around sometimes. But when I'm on the field, I don't really joke. This is probably the most I've ever spoken. This year, just being around guys like Keenan and Mike, they're cool to talk to, but usually I don't talk that much. I just focus on what I can do.

Last one, favorite Star Wars movie?

Palmer: Rogue One or Revenge of the Sith. Probably Revenge of the Sith for sure.

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