With a new season on the horizon and the 53-man roster set for the time being, the San Diego Chargers announced their on-field captains for the 2014-2015 season:
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Hardly a surprise, Rivers was picked to be an offensive captain for the seventh straight year. Rivers’ intensity and fiery attitude has sometimes put him on the wrong end of player taunts, Sportcenter montages and even the referees. However, anyone that has covered Philip Rivers or remotely follows the Chargers will tell you that the eleven year veteran is a pure gamer and not the cocky instigator as he is portrayed on some platforms of media. The 2013 NFL Comeback Player of the Year had an amazing season under first year head coach Mike McCoy, throwing for 4478 yards and 32 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 69.5.
Nick Hardwick has been the starting center for the bolts since the 2004, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2006 and a spot on the Chargers’ 50th Anniversary Team in 2009. Despite the rumors of Hardwick considering retirement during the offseason, the Chargers fans will be relieved to see the stability in the middle of the line continue for at least one more year with number 61 at the helm.
Entering his seventh year, the reining Defensive Player of the Year for the Chargers already has two Pro Bowl selections and four All-Pro nods under his belt. “The Beard” as he is now known around Chargers park, has the swagger and leadership ability to be a key leader for the team in 2014. Eric Weddle has been a captain since 2011 and has come to be known as one of the top safeties in the league. Weddle will lead a defensive unit that features veterans Dwight Freeney and Brandon Flowers and up-and-comers Jason Verrett, Jeremiah Attaochu and Melvin Ingram.
The only newcomer to the Chargers leadership in 2014, Jarret Johnson replaces 2013 defensive captain Donald Butler, who struggled to stay on the field due to nagging injuries. Johnson, a 13 year NFL veteran, played for the Baltimore Ravens for nine years before joining the Chargers in 2012. Johnson should serve as a stern veteran presence on a very young line backing crew that features Manti Te’o, Attaochu, Melvin Ingram and Donald Butler.
Darrell Stuckey returns as the team’s lone special teams captain for the Bolts. Stuckey is easily one of the best special teams players in the NFL, as was recognized as the Chargers Special Teams Player of the Year in 2013. He lead the Bolts with 10 special teams tackles last season and has 32 for his career, all despite getting double teamed as the gunner on the outside.