Jason Verrett is tasked with locking down the opposition’s number one weapon.
Each week he hears the same thing at the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped.
“Man, 37 is a dog! He’s tripping out there!”
They are talking of course about Jahleel Addae.
Verrett just laughs, proud of his close friend and teammate who has earned a reputation as one of the league’s most intimidating forces in the secondary. While he dominates the headlines along with Casey Hayward as a pair of Pro Bowl cornerbacks, number 22 considers Addae the heart of the Chargers’ secondary. That’s why Verrett couldn’t stop smiling upon learning of the safety’s four-year contract to remain with the Bolts.
“I think this move is going to get some buzz around the league. We all know what he can do, and so do other teams. Fans in L.A. are going to take notice now, too. They’re going to love him. He’s a hitter! That’s what we love about him. He changes the way opponents play. They know if they come across the middle, they can get blasted. That is what I like about his game. And the other is his energy. His passion to be on the football field riles people up.”
Verrett then chuckled.
“We’ve also seen what he can do when he gets the ball in his hands!”
The cornerback is talking about Addae’s first career pick, which came in the 2016 season finale. Number 37 weaved his way downfield, showing patience from his days as a high school running back to bring it 90-yards to the house. It was the seventh longest interception in Chargers history.
Still, Addae is more known for his punishing hits, earning the moniker “The Hitman.” He brings a palpable energy to the team as Verrett explained, his style of play elevates every member of the defense.
“He’s the glue back there. You saw it when he was out for a bit last year. It was night and day in the energy on the field. For me, when I’m on the field with Hitman, we vibe together. We look at each other and know when it’s time to turn up. It’s love.”
The bond Verrett and Addae share on and off the field clicked from the moment the cornerback was drafted in 2013. A first round pick, he joined the Chargers one year after Addae signed as an undrafted free agent.
“From day one once I was drafted here, we just clicked. Where we each came from and how we go about business, we locked in real quick. He’s my brother. Seeing everything he accomplished from going undrafted to getting a long-term deal to be able to take care of his family; I couldn’t be happier for him. It’s huge.”
Verrett wasn’t the only Charger stoked to see Addae return as a number of teammates took to Twitter to congratulate the popular safety:
Jahleel Addae's Hardest Hits
Relive some of "The Hitman's" most ferocious tackles.