Several former Chargers made headlines on Wednesday in a flurry of NFL news that hit the interwebs as teams start making moves for the start of their respective training camps.
It looks as if former Chargers’ linebacker Donald Butler has finally found a new home. Via multiple reports, he signed today with the Arizona Cardinals. This is interesting for several reasons. First, the Cardinals and Chargers are scheduled to hold a joint practice before both teams meet August 19 for a preseason skirmish. It will be interesting to see if the Arizona coaching staff can get any productivity out of a player who had woefully underwhelmed in his last few seasons with the Bolts.
Former Charger running back Ryan Mathews is hurt again, and he didn’t even get hurt playing football. The Eagles announced today that they are placing him on the Non-Football-Injury list for an ankle injury he suffered last week when the team was on their CBA- mandated break before training camp. There are literally so many potential jokes here that I can’t even pick one. It looks as if parting ways with Mathews after the 2014 season was the right move for the Chargers. Mathews’ NFL career could possibly be in jeopardy.
In other NFL news, Nick Foles asked the Rams to be released and they obliged him. Via ESPN, the Rams released Foles after he agreed to take less guaranteed money if they let him walk. Foles was benched last season after going 4-5 with six touchdowns and throwing seven interceptions. The Rams drafted Foles’ replacement a few months ago with the 1st overall pick in Jared Goff from Cal.
The New York Jets’ first-round pick, linebacker Darron Lee, signed his contract Wednesday. Lee was one of three remaining first-round draft picks that had not been signed. The others are 49ers’ Joshua Garnett and, of course, Chargers’ Joey Bosa. All three players are represented by the same agent, working for Creative Artists Agency. All three players are fighting for no offset language in their contracts (essentially allowing them to be paid double if they are cut from the team that drafted them before their rookie contracts are up). Many first-round draft picks fight for no offset language, but few get it. It’s unclear whether Darron Lee’s contract has any offset language, but his signing is good news for Chargers fans that the Bosa signing could be next.
Personally, I think these contract disputes are less about the players and more about the “business” of the NFL. I don’t think college players start off as freshman saying, “I want to play in the NFL and have a contract with no offset language.” I think the players and players’ families are talked into these situations by profit-driven, money-hungry agents who take advantage of a vulnerable and critical time in a young man’s life for their own benefit. Hopefully Bosa signs soon and we can all forget about offset language until next year!
Who is excited for training camp to start?!
Vi Teofilo is a former guard for the Arizona State Sun Devils and a mountain of a man. The youngster is 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds of solid mass. Opposing defenses will have their hands full trying to get through him.
He is as resilient as they come, considering that he powered his way through a torn ACL sustained in the Sun Bowl as the Sun Devils went up against the Blue Devils in a tight game which Arizona State eventually won 36-31. Teofilo underwent offseason surgery and rehabbed his way back on the field for the 2015 collegiate season opener against Texas A & M.
Teofilo’s signing adds depth to an offensive line that has seen more bodies down than up the last couple of seasons. Between 2012 up until his final game at Arizona State in 2015, the young lineman logged 40 straight starts at right guard. Amazing!
According to his ASU biography, he was also a four-year letter winner, a two-time All-PAC-12 Honorable Mention and a nominee for the Morris Trophy. That is an honor which is annually awarded to both the top offensive lineman and the top defensive lineman of the PAC-12 Conference. The Morris Trophy is distinctive in that the winners are chosen by fellow conference players. This year’s victors were DeForest Buckner (Oregon) on defense and Joshua Garnett (Stanford) on offense. Past winning vote-getters were Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and Tedy Bruschi, to name a few.
This Chargers’ rookie is known for being a very tough, hardworking individual; competitive and intelligent. He is also extremely strong, having compiled 43 reps on the bench press at his ASU Pro Day. Stephen Paea (49 in 2011) and Dontari Poe (44 in 2012) have more. Yet, the highest ever recorded are the 51 by Justin Ernest in 1999.
It appears to me that Teofilo has brought his fierceness and strong work ethic to the next level. He can handle adversity as evidenced by playing through injury in one of the most important games of his college career, much like the guy he will be protecting once did (remember the 2008 AFC Championship game against the Patriots?).
All in all, it is going to be exciting to watch this young man in action!
Thanks for reading!