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Slater Feels 100 Percent, Believes Bolts O-Line Has Insane Potential


Rashawn Slater is still a little more than three months from playing in another NFL game.

But it was apparent Wednesday that Week 1 against the Dolphins can't come soon enough for the Chargers left tackle.

Slater met with Chargers beat reporters earlier this week and outlined just how motivated he is after missing nearly the entire 2022 season with a torn biceps.

"Extremely. I feel like the biggest thing I learned from that was just how easily this could be taken away from you," Slater said. "You only get so much time as it is in the NFL.

"If you get something like that, that's already taking a year off of a relatively short career," Slater added. "I really just feel a lot of urgency to get where I want to be."

Slater, the No. 13 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, dominated as a rookie on the way to being a Pro Bowler and earning Second-Team All-Pro honors.

And he was his stellar self in the first few games last season before a freak injury in Week 3 sent him out of the lineup.

Slater worked hard behind the scenes to return, and said Wednesday that he was aiming to play if the Bolts had advanced past the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

"It was very close," Slater said. "That was kind of what we were going after."

Instead, Slater entered the offseason at near full health and was able to have a normal offseason of training.

"It's been great. A lot of time rehabbing, training. It's been very smooth," Slater said.

He later added: "It was pretty normal. I was slated to return towards the end of the season. That kind of allowed me to just go straight into training."

Slater also deemed himself ready to go health-wise, as he has been manning his usual spot at left tackle during the voluntary offseason program.

"It's great. I would say that it's been 100 percent for a while now," Slater said of his biceps. "At this point, it's just the more reps that I get, the more confident I will feel, but it feels great."

He later added: "I'd say that the last couple of months have been pretty pain-free and as strong as it used to be."

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With his injury behind him, Slater said he's ready to get back to his elite level of play in Kellen Moore's offense.

The Chargers offensive coordinator said his early impressions of Slater have been superb.

"He's done an awesome job," Moore said. "Obviously, we're not able to do as much of the physical component, from an O-line perspective, but his commanding presence is pretty clear and evident, as soon as you walk out on the field with the first group.

"He's going to be a tremendous asset for us," Moore added.

Moore has been around plenty of star left tackles in his playing and coaching career and knows the value of having a steady presence at that spot. He said Slater already fits that mold.

"I think that it certainly simplifies your thought process, as far as having a guy that you feel comfortable with and can manage a certain side of the football," Moore said. "It allows you to, maybe, draw attention to other aspects of the protection gameplan and whatnot.

"We have a really deep offense line, guys that have played a lot of football," Moore added. "I think it's really, really exciting for us just to get these guys gelling together, spend time together, because they've all played football — they've all played in different positions and independent, just because of the injuries last year — so to get these guys together, spend some time together, I think we're really excited about that."

As Slater enters his third season in the NFL, he'll be called upon to once again protect Justin Herbert's blindside and help anchor an offensive line that features a mix of veterans and youngsters.

Slater will now line up next to Zion Johnson at left guard, with Corey Linsley (center), Jamaree Salyer (right guard) and Trey Pipkins III (right tackle) filling out the rest of the group.

"I love it. I'm so excited to be back," Slater said. "I feel like we've all — it's a young group, but now we had last year, especially with Zion and Jamaree.

"We're really coming into Year 2 and I feel like we're really hitting our stride," Slater added. "I feel like the camaraderie is very high. I just feel like the potential is insane with us. It's a really cool thing to be a part of."

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