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Cesaire: Chargers Elder Statesman

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Blue Bolt, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    Veteran leader entering his 10th season at crowded position

    Late last season, Chargers defensive end Corey Liuget felt overwhelmed.

    The toll of his first NFL season was building. He was struggling to find a rhythm on the field. Personal problems were mounting.

    “I was blocking out sometimes,” Liuget said.

    He needed to find someone he trusted. He found defensive end Jacques Cesaire.

    Ten years ago, Cesaire first put on NFL pads at Chargers training camp in Carson, Calif., a little-known undrafted rookie and roster long shot from Division II's Southern Connecticut State. A week from today, he'll be on the field for the Chargers' first preseason game against the Packers at Qualcomm Stadium.

    It's the love of the game that's gotten him this far, Cesaire says.

    It's his approach to life outside it that's made him a mentor inside the Chargers locker room.

    Last December, the weekend the team played the Jaguars in Florida, Liuget went to Cesaire's hotel room and knocked on a door he knew would always open.

    "Me and Jacques spoke for probably like 45 minutes in his room," Liuget said. "I was telling him about how I felt about the whole season, how I felt like I was a little disappointed in things. I wasn't very comfortable in certain situations. And we sat and we talked about a whole bunch of things: life, spirituality, family — everything. I told him about mine, and he told me about his. He just spoke with me and helped me out big time.

    "It's what I hope to do when I get to his level. God bless me to play as long as he has, just to be able to help a young guy who comes in."

    The Chargers' defensive line room keeps getting younger and younger.

    It's something Cesaire, who turns 32 this month, embraces.

    When he entered the league in 2003, veterans like Raylee Johnson, DeQuincy Scott and Jamal Williams helped usher him along. He knew what that meant to him back then, so he does the same now.

    Second-round pick Kendall Reyes is the latest newcomer at defensive end. Cesaire and his family — wife Jill, 10-month-old son Desmond, and daughter Viviana, a ball of energy who's "3 going on 15," Cesaire says — have welcomed him, having him over for dinners.

    In the weeks before training camp, Cesaire worked out with Reyes in San Diego.

    "He's a great guy," Reyes said. "Family man. Spiritual. He's a great leader on the team. He really took me under his wing, showing me how to do things the right way. That's what it's all about."

    Cesaire has his own approach to the game.

    First, he doesn't pay much attention to numbers.

    When he reflects on nine years in San Diego, he doesn't recite the 66 starts in 125 games, the 220 tackles or the 13 sacks.

    And, something he learned as a rookie, he avoids the numbers game of who'll make the team at what position. (As it stands, Cesaire appears on the roster bubble. Then again, the former undrafted free agent has proven resilient before.)

    He prides himself on work ethic and how he treats others.

    Ten years in, three facets of the game keep him fresh.

    There are the relationships in the locker room.

    "I've seen guys get married," Cesaire said. "I've been to guys' weddings. I've been in guys' weddings. I've seen children get born, held their children.

    They've held my children. We do dinners together. ... We really, really have built a brotherhood in that locker room."

    There's the preparation, the daily grind of work, from coaches to scouts to players.

    Defensive line coach Don Johnson calls Cesaire the "elder statesman," serving like a coach in the meeting room.

    And then, at last, there's game day.

    "It's like the ultimate drug," Cesaire said. "It's probably why I always have a smile on my face. It might be different for everybody, but you get chills. ... You've got your fans backing you up, or even better, you go into an environment where their fans are against you. Everybody is against you. Your back is against the wall, and the only way to get through is to fight your way out.

    "There's something that's really exciting about that. There's something that's intoxicating about that. Qualcomm Stadium, Sunday, 1:15. Jet flyover. Nothing better. Absolutely nothing better."
    • Like Like x 1
  2. boltfanatik

    boltfanatik Toxic Minority Member

    Aug 2, 2009
    I always like a nice feel good story opposed to the usual management / player bashing here. It's a nice change of pace now & then.
  3. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    It does, however, confirm my suspicions that Liuget was wetting his pants last season. :D
    • Funny Funny x 1
  4. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Cesaire has always been a pretty solid guy. You know what you were going to get from him - steady play, durable, just a lunch-pail kind of player.

    As for Liuget - I'm giving the guy a pass for now for 2 big reasons .... Manusky & a severely curtailed off season.
    • Agree Agree x 1

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

    Jul 11, 2006
    Cesaire is a rock and has withstood the test of time. All teams need a Cesaire, the guy who can be the calm in the face of a horrific storm. Liuget, being young and in a football season that seemed to have no end along with very little to no orientation became overwhelmed. Good thing Cesaire was there to lend an ear, the kid may not have sought out a coach in fear of being demoted and may have ended up a train wreck.

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