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Lucky #13?.. Walters vying for a roster spot

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Blue Bolt, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Walters among young Bolts pushing for a spot
    Written by Kevin Acee

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Bryan Walters loaded up his car and drove from his home outside Seattle to a family friend’s house in Encinitas this spring.

    It was a ambitious and telling move by the wide receiver, who hurt his knee and was cut a week into Chargers training camp in 2010, went home to rehab before being signed to the practice squad for the season's final month.

    For a few weeks in June, Walters commuted to the local colleges where Chargers players were practicing and working out.

    Philip Rivers smiled at the mention of Walters showing up for the practices the Chargers quarterback organized.

    “He’s a guy you know loves to play,” said Rivers, who loves to play football and loves others who love to play football. “… He wanted to put himself in the best position.”
    Despite playing a position at which the Chargers appear brimming, being undrafted a year ago out of an Ivy League school, possessing neither overwhelming speed nor size, Walters is indeed in a decent position.

    Whether he makes the final roster or sticks again on the practice squad remains to be seen, but going into Sunday night’s second preseason game his performance over the past three weeks has made everyone from fans to coaches at least consider the wide receiver and kick returner as a possibility.

    While most starters will play the entire first half against the Dallas Cowboys, there lies beneath the prominent questions about the Chargers run game and pass rush developing stories about young players pressed for time to make the 53-man roster.
    Walters is among a group of perhaps a half-dozen players – including linebackers Bront Bird, Carl Ihenacho and Darryl Gamble, center Colin Baxter and receiver Richard Goodman -- who could force some tough decisions come Sept. 3.

    “They’re good young players, and they’re doing the things they need to do right now,” Norv Turner said Friday. “You hope there’s not an odd man out. We’ve got three more games to play. A lot of things can happen.”

    Turner is always suspect regarding questions in mid-August about the roster’s final makeup. Injuries occur, and he points to decisions the team has made in the past, seemingly overloading one position in order to keep a player or players.

    This year, all of the above-named youngsters play positions at which the Chargers seemingly have an abundance of veterans.

    “What we’ve done (in past years) is we’ve kept the best players when you get down to the 53,” Turner said. “I wouldn’t worry about numbers. If those guys are real good players, we’re going to find a way to keep them.”

    During this week’s practices, the 6-foot, 190-pound Walters has not had a letdown from the Aug. 11 exhibition opener, in which he returned a kickoff 103 yards and had two receptions for 31 yards. In Friday’s practice with the Cowboys, whom the Chargers will face in Sunday night’s nationally televised game, Walters caught two passes out of the slot and dashed for big gains.

    He has been a reliable punt returner, quite possibly not mishandling a single ball. He and Goodman, who this week has come back strong from a muscle strain, will get plenty of chances Sunday, both from scrimmage and returning kicks Sunday.

    “I was really nervous going into my first NFL game ever,” said Walters, who played at Cornell before signing with the Chargers last year, only to be cut after injuring his knee in the first week of camp. “To be able to know I can do something like that ... I always knew I could but to be able to actually do it and have that behind me is something now I can go out here and feel like I belong.

    “Now I’m looking forward to Sunday and hopefully be able to do that again.”
     

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