Take a look at who will be coaching the Los Angeles Chargers for the 2017 season.
It's common practice for someone from a team's front office to pick up players or coaches from the airport when they land.
However, it's not often that a player, let alone your Pro Bowl, superstar quarterback offers to make the trip. Yet that's what happened when the Chargers hired Pat Meyer.
Philip Rivers boasts a personal relationship with the new offensive line coach that spans nearly two decades. It dates back to the first moments the quarterback stepped foot on NC State's campus as a true freshman.
"I met Pat when I was 18 years old at NC State going down the stairs at our facility there for the first time," Rivers recalled. "He was our strength coach there, and we hit it off. He's been a line coach now at a couple different places. He's just a heck of a coach! It's all about family and football with him, and he'll fit in just fine with us."
Meyer vividly recalls their first meeting as well.
"I remember meeting him the first time walking down the stairs coming into the weight room," he said. "He was a 6-5, 200-pound true freshman coming in and I was thinking, 'This is the guy that is going to lead us? This little skinny guy?'"
It didn't take long for Rivers to win him, and the rest of the Wolfpack, over.
"He is what you think of as a true pro. He is what you want in a quarterback. I knew he was special from his first game as a freshman right when he started taking over. His dad is a longtime coach and coached him up. Guys like Philip are very few and far between. There are only a select few who are like that. You only come across those once in a great while that do everything he can. Who can perform on the field and have the knowledge of everything (of) not only what he does, but what the running back is supposed to do, what that wide receiver has for his alignment, what the left guard is supposed to do and so on. He was special."
The pair has kept in close contact for the past 18 years. Number 17 spent time with Meyer and his family in Colorado a few years ago, and they've shared other visits across the country since he left campus.
However, they never could have imagined they'd wind up together in Los Angeles.
Meyer joins the Bolts after spending the last two seasons in Buffalo. He served as a Football Operations Consultant in 2015, focusing on the offensive line as they led the NFL in rushing yards (2,432) and yards per carry (4.78). In 2016 he was the team's offensive assistant, and the Bills once again thrived pounding the rock, leading the NFL in rushing yards (2,630), yards per game (164.4) and yards per carry (5.3).
It was during Meyer's time in Buffalo that he grew close with the Chargers new head coach. It didn't take long for him to realize Anthony Lynn had the makings to be in the top spot, and he strongly believes he'll bring those same qualities to Los Angeles.
"Anthony is a great leader," Meyer said. "He knows how to relate to the players, so he is going to have good control over the room in a positive way. He will be disciplined in what he does, he will be structured and he will be organized. And he's great to work with. It's a good environment. I have seen both sides of Anthony, where we have been peers as position coaches, then he became the coordinator and then became the boss (as Interim Head Coach). Obviously, he is the head coach now. Anthony is a good guy. He is tough, but he is fair. He is an ex-player too so he knows both sides of it, which is important."
Meyer joined Buffalo after spending the 2013-14 seasons in Chicago coaching the Bears' offensive line. He made the jump to the NFL after one year in the Canadian Football League as the Montreal Alouettes' Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach. Prior to that, he spent 14 years in the college ranks, including his stint at NC State as Director of Strength and Conditioning.
Although he's spent time in various fields over his 20 years of coaching, Meyer has always been an offensive line guy at heart. Nonetheless, his time working in other areas helped mold his O-Line philosophies into what they are today. That's especially the case for his decade working in strength and conditioning.
"My background is in strength and conditioning for 10 seasons collegiately, but I have always been involved in offensive line play. I was an offensive line player since I was six years old, and have always been involved and the strength and conditioning background part of it helped me learn how to handle players, push the right buttons on certain players and how to handle different situations, that type of stuff. As a coach I believe in fundamentals and technique is what wins, it really does. I will learn these guys, they will learn me and there will be a time when we learn to trust each other and do the right stuff in the room and learn the different techniques because it is going to be a little different."
While Meyer has a close relationship with Rivers, the other players on the roster are mainly strangers to him. From the moment he's arrived, he's locked himself in his office, pouring over film to best learn his new offensive linemen.
"I've just been watching film and getting to know what (each guy's) strengths and weaknesses are off the film. Obviously I haven't gotten to meet any of them yet, but just watching them and seeing how they react to things (is helpful). Not only, how does the game go but does he play the same in the fourth quarter as he does the first quarter? Does he play the same when we are down 20 points vs. when we are up 20. Just seeing their strengths and deficiencies and how we can work to strengthen both of them."
As for number 17, while they may be close friends, he will be strictly business when they are on field.
"It'll be neat to watch him again," Meyer said. "Obviously I have a prior relationship with him, but I am coaching the line. He is the quarterback and we will have to get on the same page on a lot of things. It'll be fun. The quarterback, he drives everything. Anytime you have a quarterback like Philip you have a chance to have a successful team."