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SHOOTING THE BREEZE: with Natrone Means

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    North County Times
    July 24, 2010
    BY MATT NULL

    Before Darren Sproles, LaDainian Tomlinson or Ryan Mathews, there was Natrone Means. Known for his size and bruising running style, Means was a key factor in the Chargers' lone Super Bowl appearance after the 1994 season.
    Drafted in the second round in 1993 after skipping his senior season at North Carolina, Means emerged as a star in his second season. The 5-foot-10, 245-pound running back rushed for 1,350 yards and 12 touchdowns while leading the 1994 Chargers to the Super Bowl.
    Means played five seasons over two stints with the Chargers, and last year was voted by fans as one of the 50 greatest players in franchise history. He ranks fifth in team annals with 3,885 career rushing yards.
    Means spent eight seasons in the NFL, also playing for Jacksonville and Carolina. Now a football coach in his native North Carolina, Means said he enjoys giving back to the sport that gave so much to him.
    Means recently talked with the North County Times about Super Bowl memories and what made the 1994 team click the way it did.

    Question: How did it feel to be named one of the 50 greatest Chargers of all-time?
    Answer: It was a great feeling to be recognized. Being out there on the field that day with some of the greatest players in franchise history, it was a special feeling. I was a little hesitant at first, because I didn't know what to expect when I got word that the fans were part of the selection process. I was nervous, but when I learned that I was picked, it was a great feeling and a very special moment for me.

    Q: And what was it was like to be a 22-year-old in the Super Bowl?
    A: It was surreal. That would be the word. Growing up being a fan of football and knowing the tradition and the magnitude of the game, it was amazing. It was a great run for us. The guys on that team, we had a special bond between us. It was a great feeling to be playing football in San Diego because the city was alive, it was electric at that time, and we were playing great football. To be 22 years old and in the middle of all that, it was a great time.

    Q: Do you remember going to the stadium after the team returned home from winning the AFC championship game in Pittsburgh?
    A: I remember pulling into the parking lot on the bus, and it was nonstop chaos. I remember all the fans packing the stadium and the whole city alive and going crazy. That was definitely a feeling I don't know if I'll ever match again. It was just a great time -- that stadium was rocking.

    Q: What do you remember most about the road to the Super Bowl?
    A: Just the way we fought to get there. Coming out that year, I think we were picked 28 out of 28 teams. But we didn't care. We put together a great season. I remember everywhere we went, whether it was a cold-weather city or not, it was always sunny when we got there. We always brought nice weather with us. Then we went out on field and took care of business. We never really doubted whether we could get it done, and a big part of that came from the camaraderie on that team. We were a very close unit and we spent a lot of time together, not just at the facility but after we left there as well. We created a bond and we wanted to play for something bigger than ourselves. That's what allowed us to have success that year, just the closeness of the group.

    Q: Do you come to San Diego a lot?
    A: I usually come out to San Diego maybe two to three times a year. I'm always out there for (Junior Seau's) golf tournament and usually for one or two autograph shows a year. I'll be out there Saturday for a show in Rancho Bernardo.

    Q: You participated in the NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship Program. Is it your dream to become an NFL coach one day?
    A: I would definitely love to be in the NFL. I know there are more steps that I'm going to have to take in order to achieve that goal. Right now I feel like I need do some other coaching and get more experience maybe on a college staff. A big part is timing. Who knows? One day, hopefully, I'll be back on the sidelines of the NFL helping guys get better and helping a team win.

    Q: Are you currently coaching?
    A: I do a lot of private coaching and some group work. (Former NFL offensive lineman) Mo Collins and I founded Prep Star Elite Sports, where we train on position-specific stuff, and that gives me a chance to stay involved. We do camps, clinics and we also have former NFL guys who come out and train kids.

    Q: So what made you want to work with kids?
    A: For me, obviously, being involved with the youth sports is something I've done all my life. Having a chance to work with kids, and you've been through what they've been through. You've been where a lot of them aspire to go. It is a good feeling to see or to have a hand in the process of someone doing well. I just want to help somebody. Also, it's my way of giving back. It's a form of giving back, but it's also fun. I know coaching is what I want to do. I'm committed to it. And it's just a good feeling just to be a part of the helping process.

    NATRONE MEANS AT A GLANCE
    Chargers tenure: 1993-95, 1998-99
    Age: 38
    College: North Carolina
    Drafted: Second round in 1993
    Did you know? Was named a Parade All-American in his senior year in Harrisburg, N.C., after rushing for 2,023 yards and 33 touchdowns.
     
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I always loved watching Natrone run. :tup:
     
  3. TheLash

    TheLash Well-Known Member

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    That's cause Natrone Means Business:icon_toast:
     
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  4. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    Natrone was one of my favorite Chargers. Cool guy and was like a bowling ball. Will never forget '94 when they made their SB run. The "Natone Bomb" meant business! :tup:
     

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