A 26-year-old offensive lineman with 80 starts, five straight Pro Bowl nods and a Super Bowl appearance on his NFL resume is switching teams – and coasts.
On Wednesday, the Chargers acquired guard Trai Turner from the Carolina Panthers in exchange for offensive tackle Russell Okung. A combination of youth and experience, Turner becomes a major piece to a new-look offensive line led by position coach James Campen.
"It's kind of like a fresh start," Turner said. "I get to be in a new facility, new teammates, new coaches, new city. I'm looking at it as like a rejuvenation of my football career."
Turner's credentials are as impressive as any O-lineman in the league. A third-round draft pick in 2014, the former LSU standout entered the NFL at 20 years old and started nine games his rookie season.
In 2015, Turner played 98 percent of Carolina's offensive snaps. The Panthers owned the league's highest-scoring offense (31.3 points per game) that season and went 15-1 before losing to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.
Browse through some photos of the Chargers newly acquired offensive lineman, Trai Turner, a five-time pro bowler who spent the first six years of his career in Carolina.
Leadership comes in multiple forms. Turner's accolades bring instant credibility to a unit that features several young players across the line, including Trey Pipkins, Trent Scott, Dan Feeney, Forrest Lamp and Scott Quessenberry.
"I firmly believe you lead by actions first," Turner said. "I plan to do that by leading with my actions first and foremost, and then see where it goes from there. I just want to come in and lead by example – do what I'm supposed to do in workouts, do what I'm supposed to do in the classroom, and most importantly, do what I'm supposed to do on the field."
Turner said he expects to start at right guard for the Chargers, the position he largely played during his six seasons in Carolina. He's already had a "good conversation" with Campen, who spent 11 seasons as the Green Bay Packers' offensive line coach before joining the Cleveland Browns in 2019.
"I'm excited about getting coached up by him," Turner said.
Sharing the field with explosive offensive weapons isn't new to Turner, either. He blocked for Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, helping him to win MVP in 2015. Last season, Christian McCaffrey had 2,392 yards from scrimmage and broke his own NFL record for catches by a running back (116).
Turner said he likes what he's seen from a Chargers offense that includes wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, tight end Hunter Henry, and running back Austin Ekeler. He added that he's also heard positive things about quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Still, with free agency in its early stages and the draft over a month away, the roster continues to evolve.
"Whoever may be back there, I'm just ready to do my job so everyone around me can shine – because when they look good, I look better."