Tre Boston had a decision to make.
Surprisingly released following the NFL Draft one year after starting 10 games for the Carolina Panthers in 2016, the 24-year old safety was a hot commodity coveted by numerous teams. After some time he whittled his list down to three choices – the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Chargers.
Boston visited all three teams, and left feeling good about his options. Still, one made more sense above the rest.
"Gus Bradley. Anthony Lynn. (Assistant Defensive Backs Coach) Chris Harris was with me a bit in Carolina. The coaches really embraced what I can bring to this team. They know the exact role they want for me in this defense. They had a true vision for me, and I felt a need and want to have me here. It was true. They had real love for me…. And then the players they have here, that is part of why I came too. (Jason) Verrett and Casey (Hayward). Pro Bowlers. Jahleel (Addae) is strong. I knew the guys I'd be around could set me up for success. I've been here for just a couple hours and it's been amazing. The guys have embraced me ASAP."
A deeply spiritual man, a chance encounter back in Carolina confirmed his inclination to head to the Bolts.
Needing to get gas after arriving at the airport, Boston went to a different station than usual. While there, he met a struggling father of three who asked Boston if he could spare some change. The safety gave him a twenty-dollar bill, and the man responded with the following.
"Thanks. My name is Mike, but my friends call me L.A."
Boston doesn't believe in coincidences, explaining how the chance meeting cemented in his heart what he already knew to be true in his brain. After all, his meeting with the Bolts couldn't have gone any better.
"When he told me his name was L.A., that (confirmed) it was the right decision. I had prayed for clarity. When he told me that, I knew what I had to do. I felt good when I met with (the Chargers), so this was a sign for me that it was the right choice."
It was a choice Boston couldn't have imagined he'd have to make a few short weeks ago. The 6-1, 205-pound safety set career-highs last year across the board, yet was released by the Panthers days following the draft.
"It took a lot of people by surprise," he said. "I had players and coaches in the organization calling me telling me they had no idea what was going on. They (players) told me it was crazy to let go of a guy like me. They wanted to know. But I felt like it was part of a plan (and) that God wanted me here. I'm happy to be in L.A. and ready to turn a new leaf."
So what does he bring to the table?
"I'm athletic. Strong. I am dynamic and a playmaker. I bring a passion. Everything I do I bring a passion. You might even see me dancing around! I love the game. I've been playing this game since I was six years old. I love this, and I see what it's done for my family and my life. I play to a high caliber, and I want to do it for the Los Angeles Chargers. I can't wait to get on the field and show the fans what we are really about."