SAN DIEGO — Before the San Diego Chargers play their home opener, they’ll honor Junior Seau one more time.
On one particular play last Monday night, Corey Liuget was not to be trifled with. The Chargers defensive end discarded the 6-foot-5, 310-pound Carlisle at the line of scrimmage, and easily caught the speedy Oakland running back well before he could turn upfield.
Last week, Jared Cook bent his knees and launched into the air, his arms outstretched above his head to catch a football most would need a ladder with a spotter to reach.
He speed rushed Raiders right tackle Khalif Barnes, forcing quarterback Carson Palmer to step into the pocket toward blitzing inside linebacker Donald Butler: a 7-yard sack.
At some point, the Chargers are either going to take full advantage of having a true NFL quarterback — in an era when you don’t win a Super Bowl without one — or they’ll look back with regret.
Seau gallops across Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium after the Chargers upset the Steelers in the 1994 AFC Championship Game. He makes 16 tackles for a defense that holds running back Barry Foster to 47 yards on 20 carries, despite the absence of run-stuffing lineman Shawn Lee. Seau sends Foster diving to the artificial turf on the back’s first carry, and the Steelers, breaking from their smash-mouth style, go on to throw 54 passes. “I can’t even tell you how I feel, how the organization feels,” Seau says to NBC’s Greg Gumbel afterward. “The character of this squad is enormous — you can’t measure that.”