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Homecoming kings

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Thursday, Nov 15, 2007

    The last time Clinton Hart’s mom had a chance to see her son play football in person, she did so from a nosebleed seat at the Georgia Dome as Hart’s Philadelphia Eagles battled the Atlanta Falcons.

    When the Chargers travel to Jacksonville this week, she’ll have a much better view.

    “I bought her a ticket down low this week, right up close to the action,” Hart said. “This is going to be a fun one.”

    Hart, who grew up roughly two hours from Jacksonville in Bushnell, Florida, will get to play in his home state for the first time as a professional. That’s the case for cornerback Antonio Cromartie (Tallahassee and Florida State) and linebacker Brandon Siler as well.

    “It’s good because a lot of my family hasn’t seen me play yet,” said Siler, an Orlando native who starred at the University of Florida. “They don’t show many of our games on TV out there, so even my friends and family who don’t get to come to the game this week, they’ll get to see us. Hopefully we put on a good show for them.”

    Cornerback Drayton Florence was a rookie when the Chargers traveled to Jacksonville in 2003 but is anxiously awaiting his homecoming Sunday. Florence grew up in Ocala, roughly 100 miles from Jacksonville.

    “I’ll have a lot of people at the game,” Florence said. “It’s always special when you get to play in front of your family and all. The biggest thing is you can’t let that distract you. We still have a job to do.”

    Safety Marlon McCree went to high school in Daytona Beach and spent the first three years of his playing career with the Jaguars. He led Jacksonville with six interceptions during his second season. Like his teammates, McCree will have plenty of family on hand but he isn’t getting carried away with nostalgia the weekend could bring.

    “It’ll be nice to see my family and catch up with Fred (Taylor) and some of the guys before the game, but it’s just another game that we need to win,” McCree said. “That’s why I need to play my best. Not because of the other things.”

    Throughout the week, there was a running joke in the Chargers’ locker room regarding which player would end up purchasing the most tickets. Cromartie and Florence appeared to be the “winners” as they both bought roughly 60 tickets.

    “This will be the first time most of my family gets to see me play in person,” Cromartie said. “Hopefully I can just keep doing what I’ve been doing and make a play for them.”

    Injury update

    Defensive end Jacques Cesaire (toe), linebacker Shawne Merriman (ankle), safety Eric Weddle (knee) and linebacker Marques Harris (toe) all sat out of Thursday’s practice. Linebacker Shaun Phillips (groin) was limited after missing Wednesday’s work. Wide receiver Vincent Jackson (abdomen) and center Nick Hardwick (foot) were also limited.

    Cornerback Quentin Jammer (hamstring) fully participated in Thursday’s practice after being limited Wednesday. He is expected to have a role Sunday, but coaches will determine exactly what that is in the next couple of days.

    “He looks good,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “It’s just a matter of how much he’s able to play.”


    The NFL released preliminary results of Pro Bowl voting Thursday and three Chargers are currently the leading vote getters at their position. Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, tight end Antonio Gates and fullback Lorenzo Neal sit atop their positions. Pro Bowl voting will continue on NFL.com through December 11.

    High five

    When Darren Sproles returned a kickoff and punt for a touchdown Sunday, it marked the fourth and fifth time that the Chargers have scored a touchdown on special teams this season.

    The Bolts have reached the end zone with five of their six special teams units - Sproles on kickoff return and punt return (Indianapolis), Cromartie on punt block (Houston) and field goal block (Minnesota) and Siler on kickoff coverage (at Denver). The only Chargers special teams group that hasn’t scored a touchdown this season is the field goal unit.

    “It’s phenomenal,” Turner said. “Those are plays that usually end up being the difference in the game as they were the other night.”

    Chasing an idol

    In Sunday’s win over the Colts, LaDainian Tomlinson scored his eighth rushing touchdown of the season to put him in a tie with Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson for the NFL lead.

    Two scores on the ground Sunday would give LT 110 for his career. That total would tie his boyhood idol Walter Payton for third place on the NFL’s all-time list.

    Playing takeaway

    In addition to leading the NFL with 17 interceptions, the Chargers are tied with the Patriots for the league lead in turnover margin. They’re plus-11 on the year. When the Bolts win the turnover battle this season, they’re 5-0. They’re 0-3 when they lose it.

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