10- Stan Humhries, QB SD, ’92-’97: How could I not have the man who quarterbacked the 1994 AFC Champion San Diego Chargers! While his stats might not be great Stan wasn’t a terrible quarterback at all. Stan was definitely fun to watch too! Especially, when he was in his lucky spot next to Sid Brooks. His career stats aren’t beautiful (89 TD’s 87 Int’s), but he was part of the Chargers only AFC Championship team in ‘94. We could never repay him, as fans, for what he did for the Chargers.
9- Jamal Williams, NT SD, ’98-’09: One of the most underrated football players ever, this man killed it in the middle! The quarterback 8 out of 10 times would be staring in the face of Williams while making his pass. 13 Career Sacks, and 357 tackles (310 for the Chargers), doesn’t do this man justice. Just because you were inside the 5 didn’t mean you were going to score with this guy on the field! A sheer force driving opposing centers into the backfield almost every play. Plus who doesn’t love the big guy … am I right!
8- Darren Bennett, P SD, ’95-’03: Want to talk about an interesting back story? This man came to America from Australia, after getting married, asked the Bolts for a tryout. There ya have it, Rugby player turned Football player. What most people don’t remember about this man was he laid the HURT down! His rookie season, in 1995, he knocked out a punt returner. The coaching staff would have to yell at Bennett NOT to run down field and make the tackle. Darren Bennett is considered one of the best punters to play the game by most. Yeah, a punter who can drill someone into the ground! Not to mention bring the “Pooch Punt,” as we know it, to the NFL. For those who don’t know, a pooch punt is for when you are too far for a field goal, but too close for a punt. You drop the ball and kick it right before it hits the ground. This also allows it to go end over end. It gives it a better role and allows a better chance to land inside the 5. Doug Flutie was really the last good pooch punter.
7- Junior Seau, LB SD, ’90-’02: The man, the myth, the legend! Who could ever forget Junior’s timely snap count guesses, or his work ethic? Such athleticism and grace all rolled into one. He was a hero for every little Bolt fan growing up. Seau was another member of the 1994 AFC Championship team. Gibson may have sent us to Miami, but Seau was the main piece in an amazing season where the Chargers were underdogs ALL year. Junior spent his best years in San Diego, and as most everyone knows opened, “Seau’s” in San Diego. I could never get enough of him when I was a kid, and is DEFINITLY a Hall of Famer. It destroyed me when Junior left.
6- Antonio Gates, TE SD, ’03-Present: Gates has stated his case for one of the best tight ends of ALL TIME, but he also revolutionized the game, whenever you can say that about a player you are talking about a great. Antonio is one of the toughest players I have ever seen. Never takes a play off, and does his best when it comes to blocking while also having 7,783 career yards receiving the man is a machine. Not to mention his 76 career touchdowns! This man was built for excitement. Gates also is one of the pioneers of the game to pave the way for basketball players. He played basketball for Kent St. and wound up in San Diegoas an undrafted free agent. Man am I glad! Not to mention Gates has only fumbled 3 times in his career!
5- Kellen Winslow, TE SD, ’79-’87: The Epic in Miami, need I say more? A player who completely revolutionized the game of football, by making tight ends a deep/pass threat. Before Winslow not many tight ends were flashy, they were blockers first, then receivers. Winslow opened the door for the Tony G’s, Dallas Clark’s, and not to mention our Antonio Gates! Part of the all mighty Air Coryell offense, he moved like a gazelle, and had some of the best hands around. Number 67 all time on the Top 100 players of all time, and number 2 on NFL Networks Top 10 Tight Ends, Winslow racked up 6,741 receiving yards, 45 touchdowns, and avg. 12.5 yards per catch. That’s career stats folks. Not to mention another guy who is a class act. Probably one of the funniest athletes I have EVER had the pleasure of meeting. Classy, respectful, and VERY TALL, it also helps him on my list that his son was a Miami Hurricane. Ha-ha.
4- Kris Dielman, G SD, ’03-’11: Defensive linemen turned offensive linemen legend! Kris DOMINATED the trenches with, a confidence that only few obtained over the years. Only regret? Is that his career was cut short. There is no denying though that Dielman used to play with a high intensity! Kris loved running the ball despite the offensive lineman being the unsung heroes of the game Kris was known league wide. As a top tier player at his position he played his game, and didn’t care. He even had seasons without giving up a single sack.
3- Philip Rivers, QB SD, ’04-Present: Our fearless leader of the present! If you are a Chargers fan you have to remember the torn ACL game. In the 2007 AFC Championship game, the Bolts may have lost 21-12, BUT the gutsiest performance by any Charger is franchise history, in my opinion, was that very day. The week before Rivers tore his ACL against the Colts and yet still managed to play in this game! Throwing for 211 yards on a bum leg is a feat. He is a man that would rather go down with the ship and I love that about Rivers. A natural born leader, and fiery competitor. You have to love the way P-Rivs approaches the game. It is VERY hard to rattle him, he is very consistent, and his values and morals are very in check. I will go out on a limb and say Philip will be a Hall of Famer one day.
2-LaDainian Tomlinson, SD RB, ’01-’09: Believed in this man since he stepped on the field. His achievements are reasons the Chargers are what they are today. 2 time rushing champion, 2006 MVP, and holds the single season touchdown record are only a few of them. We used to be taken lightly but now we are contenders and the real deal. The LT of O killed it in so many ways that defensive minds would turn into mashed potatoes. With his 13,684 rushing yards LT is sitting in the number 5 slot of all time rushers. Arguably a top 5 running back of all time, he could do it in so many different ways, even throwing the ball! I will never forget the first time I saw him play in person. It was against the Jets at the Meadowlands. He BROKE Ty Law’s ankles. Lesson? You can’t tackle what you can’t see. 7 on the all time all purpose yards list (18,456); LT also is a winner of the Walter Peyton award. You could tell if you have ever met him what kind of guy Tomlinson really is. Humble, nice, and actually funny. I went for my photo op with him this year, and he was cool with doing matching tear drops for the camera. HOW COOL IS THAT!!?!? Ha-ha.
1- NICK HARDWICK, C SD, ’04-Present: One of the hardest working players on the field is the center. My coach used to tell me when I played, “If the line screws up, it’s on you.” This position is SO underrated as a whole. You essentially are the quarterback of the offensive line. So goes the offensive line… so goes the offense, and Nick hasn’t broke under the pressure. During Nick’s whole career he has butted heads with some of the best, and has kept our quarterbacks safe. He has wonderful technique and understands the game SO well. Not to mention some pretty awesome sleeve tattoos! I really can’t say enough good things about the job he has done thus far for us. Nick also just seems like a happy-go-lucky guy! Hardwick plays the game the way it was intended to be played though. He plays hard, intense, and with love and passion for the game. I hope he NEVER retires.
So that’s my top ten favorite Chargers of all time. I know some of you may say where’s Fouts? What about Charlie Joiner? Every one of these players struck something in my eye or in my heart. I love the Chargers and anyone who puts on the Bolt and acts like a true Charger, BUT I ONLY HAD 10 SPOTS!!!!! What’s a guy supposed to do!?!?! So I am interested to hear what some of your favorite Chargers of all time are, any that hit you as hard as some of these hit me?