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UT: Ingram proving father's bold prediction

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by AnteaterCharger, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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  2. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Gehlken fancies himself a novelist now. ;)
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  3. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Ingram proving father's bold prediction
    Written by


    HAMLET, N.C. — He was right. He was right. Oh, Lord, he was right.

    In April, Melvin Ingram’s mother Nancy sat at an NFL Draft table in New York City, shaking her head and drying off the tears that kept coming, her late husband’s words cycling around and around in her head.

    Such a strange thing for George Melvin Ingram Jr. to say, she thought at the time.

    But he was right.

    Melvin Ingram, the No. 18 overall pick, is one of the Chargers’ 26 rookies who will report to training camp today. Camp is a landmark in a young football player’s career, a stage most NFL hopefuls never reach.

    For the outside linebacker, this day was foretold.

    More than 20 years ago, a baby Ingram crawled around his family’s living room here, bringing his father, a loyal Miami Dolphins fan, to turn away from the television screen.

    Nicknamed “Shaq,” the 6-foot-9 man nodded toward his toddler.

    That’s my NFL baby, he told his wife and friends, who all laughed.

    You’ll see. That’s my NFL baby.

    “I couldn’t stop crying (during the draft),” Nancy said at her mother’s old home in Hamlet, her youngest grandson Zy-Quis, 2, screaming playfully nearby. “I couldn’t hold back. All I could think about is what he said. It was really happening.”

    Melvin Ingram, on the night of his 23rd birthday, had his mother, two older sisters and an older cousin with him inside Radio City Music Hall.

    His father, they imagine, would’ve loved to have been there, too, telling them how he told them so, but that chance was lost Sept. 29, 1998. It was the day a 9-year-old Ingram sprinted to the house of a neighbor, who was a nurse. It was the day he dialed 9-1-1.

    It was the day Ingram watched his father die.

    “I feel like I was put in that position for a reason,” Ingram said. “I feel like it defined me as a man today.”

    Small-town hero
    To get to Hamlet from the nearest skyscraper, leave Charlotte and travel about 90 minutes east on Interstate 74.

    Your commute will pass slowly through a small town with a Waffle House and Bojangles restaurant, followed by a small town with a Waffle House and Bojangles restaurant, followed by more small towns of the same, and on to Hamlet.

    It’s quiet inside Richmond County, tucked beneath the greenery of southern North Carolina.

    Hamlet is neighbor to Rockingham, the county’s largest city, which has been hit hard by the economy, losing tourist dollars when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series left its racetrack to pursue larger markets in 2004.

    Several local textile plants also have shut down. Jobs were lost. All in all, times are tough.

    Yet every now and again, an athlete springs from Hamlet as a source of local pride.

    Ingram, a boy who’d always played in its streets, once breaking his right foot when he stepped on a piece of broken glass, is the latest football player to emerge from the railroad town.

    Others include former Eagles wide receiver Mike Quick, former Giants cornerback Perry Williams, former Bengals cornerback Louis Breeden and current Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe.

    “At little old Hamlet, we’ve got 6,000 people,” said Mayor Jeff Smart, who works full-time as the owner of a local drugstore. “Anytime we can get one of our young adults into the professional ranks, it’s great. Melvin’s our eighth one. I don’t know how far back that number goes, but with our little population, that’s pretty good.”

    Natural athlete
    Athletics seemed to come so easy for Ingram.

    Basketball was his first love; he dribbled about everywhere he went as a kid and played point guard all three years at Richmond Senior High, which is grades 10-12.

    Self-confidence and sports go hand-in-hand. Ingram’s style is to talk trash, and he has a history of backing it up.

    In middle school, he walked up to a baseball practice and began some banter, asking if he could take a few swings. He clubbed two home runs and went on his way.

    He can spin a football in his hand. He can throw a football with both arms. He can long-snap so well, the Chargers have already begun trying him out as their potential backup to Mike Windt.

    As a high school senior, he asked his math teacher to excuse him from class so he could go to the weight room and break the school’s hang-clean record. Ingram, dressed in khakis, took a quick warm-up and promptly broke the mark of 380 pounds by 5.

    Maybe the best of his off-field feats came before the 2006 Shrine Bowl, an annual all-star game between North and South Carolina’s top graduating high school seniors. Current Chargers cornerback Marcus Gilchrist and undrafted rookie wide receiver Jason Barnes were teammates.

    The night before the game, there was a carnival with a radar gun, clocking who could throw the fastest ball. The quarterbacks took their turns, and Willy Korn, a Clemson commit from South Carolina, was the winner.

    Then a right-handed linebacker approached.

    “Melvin said, ‘Well, I can beat that with my left hand,’” said Paul Hoggard, Richmond High’s football coach. “They said, ‘Oh, well, you’re probably left-handed,’ so he beat all of them with his left and right hand. That kind of tells you his versatility.”

    Learning to work
    In college, Ingram met his match.

    He’d just broken the fifth metatarsal in his right foot while playing basketball, costing him a year from the game.

    A long road of rehab lay ahead, but time was no guarantee. Out of high school, it took a full-court press in the classroom to become NCAA eligible, and now in college, he was losing grip of his academics.

    All the potential, all the promise, was in jeopardy after Ingram’s sophomore season at South Carolina.

    Brad Lawing, the Gamecocks’ defensive line coach, sat him down.

    “He was at a crisis in his life because he wasn’t sure what was going to go on,” Lawing said. “Things came so easy to him before, and he didn’t know how to work. When he finally learned how to work — and there was a lot of hair and tooth pulling to get that done. Believe me. There were times I’d feel like my head was going to explode to get him what he needed to do as far as work ethic.

    “But when he learned how to work, that’s when things finally came into play for him, and I’m proud of him for that. Some guys don’t, now. Some never learn. Melvin finally bought in.”

    Once the lesson was learned, it stuck.

    Ingram became a pro before he ever turned one, mastering how to punch out of a three-point stance entering his junior season. He’d have nine sacks in 2010 and then, as a team captain, a school-record 10 sacks as a senior in 2011.

    He turned around his studies for good, becoming the first in his family to graduate college. He earned his degree in African American Studies in December.

    Before the NFL Scouting Combine, Ingram worked with retired NFL linebacker Dan Brandenburg. The Encinitas resident works as a biomechanics trainer, fine-tuning athletes’ running technique and preparing them for the combine.

    Previous clients include NFL linebackers Clay Matthews, Sean Weatherspoon, Von Miller and Ryan Kerrigan.

    “He was awesome to work with,” Brandenburg said of Ingram. “I can remember the first day, we were working on this movement. He was just asking, ‘How do you do that? Show me how.’ He was super into it. His whole demeanor was ‘I’m going to get this down, do the best I can do, and show these people what’s up.’”

    ‘Tweet that’
    Ingram’s family knows him as cool and collected, one who doesn’t often smile but is still pleasant to be around. He has that endearing sense of humor.

    They haven’t seen Ingram after kickoff.

    “I’m a different person,” Ingram said. “Words can’t explain it. I’m a whole different person.”

    He got the nickname SupaMelvin in high school due to his position versatility.

    His most talked about game happened his senior year when, against rival Laurinburg-Scotland High, he blocked and returned a field goal for a touchdown, intercepted a screen pass for a touchdown, and while lined up at running back, swept to the right and broke three tackles for a long touchdown.

    An alter-ego comes with the on-field nickname.

    “It’s not (about) leaving a trademark as far as stats,” Ingram said, “but leaving a trademark as far as legendary, being known as one of the most passionate players to ever play the game of football. ...

    “If you’re passionate about the game of football and you love it, you’ll give it your all on every snap. You’ll lay it on the line every down.”

    On the field, there’s a mean streak to Ingram, something Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd found out the hard way last year.

    Boyd reportedly called out the South Carolina defense on Twitter, calling its players “average.”

    When the teams met, Ingram had two of the Gamecocks’ five sacks in a 34-13 win. The quarterback completed 11 of 29 passes for a season-low 83 yards.

    “Melvin got him one time, and I think he said, ‘Tweet that,’ ” Lawing said. “Well, that wasn’t the full comment. He said, ‘Tweet that, bleep, bleep, bleep.’ ”

    Boyd deactivated his Twitter account after the game.

    Source of pride
    George “Shaq” Ingram worked in the ink business.

    One day, he said he felt sick but finished his shift nonetheless. When he made it home, he had Nancy draw him a blanket as he rested on the living-room couch.

    They were going to see her mother. He told them to wait; he’d be with them soon. Just needed some rest.

    They went out the front door to the patio. Some minutes later, one of Ingram’s sisters, Monique, stepped inside and screamed. He was suffering a massive heart attack. The others hurried behind her.

    Ingram saw him.

    “I feel like that made me mentally strong as well as physically strong at a young age,” he said.

    Shaq never had the chance to be in the stands for his son’s basketball games, never got to cheer him on from the football bleachers.

    Still, Ingram says, “I feel like he’s watched every football game that I’ve ever played in.”

    Before all his games, whether Nancy can be there or not, she speaks to Shaq. She tells him to look: Melvin is playing. Watch him, Shaq. This is for you.

    “He would be so excited,” she said. “If he was here to see what he made of himself, he’d be very proud of him. Very, very proud. Like I am. I’m very proud of him.

    “He’d say, ‘I told you. I told you that’s what he was going to be.’ ”

    An NFL man.

    His NFL son.
     
  4. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    Feelin good about this pick.:tup:
     
  5. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    He's just a good old Carolina boy and that's hard to beat.
     
  6. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Ingram=DROY.
     
  7. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    A couple Bojangles country ham, egg and cheese biscuits with a side of grits and a large coffee is a wonderful thing.
     
  8. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Well-Known Member

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    This kid seems like the complete package--amazing athlete, hard worker, mature beyond his years and plays with a nasty streak. I look forward to seeing him terrorize QBs.
     
  9. Ikeman83

    Ikeman83 Werter Pöbel

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    He has some very impressive athleticism. I hope that he can parlay that into a long and successful career for us.
     
  10. boltfanatik

    boltfanatik Toxic Minority Member

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    I was excited when we drafted English. So I'm not going to say poo till week 6
     
  11. Joy Division

    Joy Division Slightly-known Member

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    WTF? I'm not going to read all that!

    Just kidding...pretty good read. I like feel good stories.
    They make me feel warm and fuzzy all over.
    Hey Ingram..now go reek some havoc.
     
  12. Lightning_Dynasty

    Lightning_Dynasty Well-Known Member

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    Jeez, I can't remember the last time I've this badly wanted a player to succeed.

    I mean, it be nice if everyone we sign pans out, but I think I might very well be heartbroken if Ingram doesn't become amazing.
     
  13. _Oz

    _Oz Banned Banned

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    [​IMG]

    T-Rex will succeed from sheer frustration and anger
     
  14. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Whatever works.
     
  15. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    If he can put fear in the hearts and minds of opposing QB's I'll be happy.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. boltfanatik

    boltfanatik Toxic Minority Member

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    Hope you are right! Ajs career here may hang on this
     

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