<strong>August 1, 2005</strong>
Source: <a href="http://www.chargers.com/news/headline_detail.cfm?news_key=2213">Chargers.com</a>
When Quentin Jammer lost his grandfather Gylum Diggs to cancer in 1992, it created a huge void in his life.
This season, Jammer hopes to create a void in his bank account in memory of Diggs. The fourth-year pro has decided to make a donation to the American Cancer Society every time he intercepts a pass this season. Jammer will give $1,000 to the ACS for every interception he records, and he'll add an additional $5,000 for every pick he returns for a touchdown.
"My grandfather was someone that I could always go talk to," Jammer said. "My dad and I didn't really get along, so he was the male role model in my life. I could always count on him. I want to honor him and help other cancer patients by making the donations."
Although Jammer has been in the NFL for four seasons, he decided to make the donations this season after his family was again rocked by cancer. The aunt of Jammer's wife Alicia was recently diagnosed with the illness. In addition, Jammer has been inspired by fellow Texan Lance Armstrong's triumph over cancer.
"Lance has had so much success, and it's really made people think about cancer research," Jammer said. "I can't do as much as he has, but I can do something. If I can help in any way, I want to. With cancer, there's nothing you can really do about it. You get it and pray to God that you get through it."
If the opening days of training camp are any indication of how Jammer's season will go, he could find his wallet to be a lot lighter come January.
"Quentin is playing as well as he has since he's been here," said Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer. "I think this should be an opportunistic time for him to step forward because of the competition that we have in this division at receiver. People are going to be throwing it around the field, I'm sure."
As for putting an exact number on how much he hopes to donate, Jammer doesn't have one. He only hopes to develop a reputation as one of the league's top cover men.
"I just want to shut people down," Jammer said. "If I have no picks but no touchdowns caught against me and I shut people down, then I'm happy."
With Sammy Davis and Drayton Florence battling it out to start opposite of him, Jammer is excited about the depth that the Chargers will have in their secondary. In addition, General Manager A.J. Smith used two first-round picks in April on Shawne Merriman and Luis Castillo, players that Smith thinks can help generate a better pass rush and in the process cut down on the amount of time Jammer and company have to cover their men.
"It would be great if we can make quarterbacks get the ball out of their hand quicker," Jammer said. "That's every corner's dream. Even without a pass rush, I think we've got the talent to really do something back there. This is our second year in (defensive coordinator) Wade Phillips' system. We're all comfortable with each other and we're comfortable in the defense. I think we're going to make a lot of big plays this year."
At 6-0, 240 pounds, Jammer is a physically imposing corner who loves to mix it up with receivers. He expects to have plenty of opportunity to do that in 2005.
"My first couple of years in the league, we played a lot of zone, so I didn't really get a chance to be physical with guys at the line of scrimmage," Jammer said. "When Wade got here, we started playing more press, and we're going to be playing even more this year. I'm really looking forward to getting up in guys' faces. Wade obviously sees what we do best, and he's going to play to our strengths."
When Jammer arrived in San Diego three years ago, he did so with lofty expectations. The Chargers selected the All-American with the fifth overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft. While Jammer is still seeking his first trip to Hawaii, Schottenheimer has been pleased with the way that his pupil has performed.
"The thing that happens when you take a guy number one, basically you're saying that this guy is going to be a Pro Bowl player right away. It doesn't work that way," Schottenheimer said. "You have to give guys an opportunity to develop, and it's particularly important at the cornerback position because in my opinion, the quarterback position is the only one harder to play in all of football. We're very pleased with the progress Quentin has made, and we're excited about the football player that he continues to develop into."
A Hawaiian vacation is something that has crossed Jammer's mind. With enough highlight-reel interceptions, 2005 could be the year.
"I think about it, but the Pro Bowl is based on favorites," Jammer said. "Hopefully we can do something about that and I can become a fan favorite. It's just another one of those things you can't worry about. I've got to do what I do, and hopefully it will be enough."
Here's hoping that in January Jammer can write "Pro Bowler" on his resume, just after writing a hefty check to the American Cancer Society.