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Chargers tight end relishes chance to show his skills while star works out contract

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    <strong>August 8, 2005</strong>
    Source: <a href="http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005/08/08/sports/professional/8405200531.txt">North County Times</a>

    <img src="http://bolttalk.com/images/peelle01.jpg" class="right" alt="Justin Peelle" title="Justin Peelle"/>SAN DIEGO --- Tight end Antonio Gates' absence has swung open a gate of opportunity for Justin Peelle.

    With Gates in a contract hassles and expected to miss his 17th practice today, Peelle prepares for the additional workload.

    "Of course I like the extra reps. Why wouldn't I?'' Peelle said. "It's fun right now, but obviously he's a player that we need to win and get done what we want to accomplish."

    Peelle knows he's not in the same class as Gates, a Pro Bowl selection last year. But few are, as Gates proved last season when he set an NFL single-season record for touchdown receptions (13) at his position.

    Peelle's standing on Gates' tussles with the front office? This former All-Pac-10 player from Oregon would rather wear an Oregon State T-shirt than fault either of the disagreeing parties.

    "He's anxious to get here, but business is business,'' Peelle said. "And I'm not going to touch that one."

    Peelle, though, has a feel of his own. His hands are soft and his blocks solid as he does his part in the Chargers' versatile offense.

    "I've got my own game,'' said Peelle, who has 15 NFL starts. "I didn't get here on my good looks."

    Peelle, a fourth-round pick in 2002, hasn't disappointed the Chargers with his reliability and well-rounded game. Though Gates gets most of the passes and glory, Peelle did have 10 catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns last season.

    Peelle's contributions often appear on the game films ---- where his run-blocking talents are most apparent ---- rather than on the stat sheet. He's not afraid to clear the way for others, then step aside when the media swarms to the benefactor.

    But he's gone from caddie to first string at training camp this summer. Where he once stood with the backups, he now is putting his toe on the line of scrimmage.

    "Drew (Brees) called a play in the huddle the other day, and it shocked me,'' Peelle said. "I rarely, if ever, run that route, and it showed. It wasn't the prettiest route, but I made the catch."

    Peelle will continue being a target until Gates and the Chargers zero in on a contract. In case the stalemate continues, Peelle is out to prove he won't drag down the offense.

    "The coaches know what I'm capable of doing," Peelle said. "I'll try to make some plays in the preseason. We're still going to run our offense."

    Spoken like a true football coach, a role Peelle assumed during Poway High's spring workouts. Peelle, who recently moved to Poway, disbursed tips and advice to the receptive teenagers. The previous two springs, he aided players at Scripps Ranch.

    "I have a lot of appreciation for what my coaches go through," Peelle said. "You learn you have to teach the same thing different ways to different kids."

    Peelle discovered a love for coaching, and he is considering becoming one once his NFL career expires.

    "I want to come down and keep working with (Poway),'' said Peelle, who is particularly intrigued with Titans tight end Ryan Deehan. "It's been a great experience for me working with the kids."

    No kidding, Peelle will trot out with the first unit come Thursday night in the exhibition opener at Green Bay. Until Gates packs his bag for San Diego, it will remain that way.

    "We've got some good tight ends here, but we need Antonio,'' Peelle said. "I'm having fun right now, but in the grand scheme of things we're a lot better football team with him here. I can't do some of the things Antonio can do."

    CHARGERS NOTES ---- The team resumes training camp practices at 8:30 this morning, in pads. The Chargers will work again at 3:55 p.m. Both sessions are at Chargers Park and open to the public.

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