Losing a key player due to injury can be detrimental to a team’s plans. By now, Chargers fans should be aware that outside linebacker Dwight Freeney has been placed on Injured Reserve and will be out for the rest of the season. Freeney suffered a torn quad during the contest against the Dallas Cowboys and required surgery. Once Melvin Ingram tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in mid-May, Tom Telesco made the call to sign Freeney on a two-year contract and Freeney provided exactly what we signed him up for, pass rush!
The loss of Freeney opened up seats for newly promoted linebacker Thomas Keiser from the practice squad. Although a spot on the roster can be easily replaced, what can’t be replaced is the heart and soul of this veteran player. Freeney is taking with him leadership, experience and talent that cannot be replaced by just anyone. This is a key, character role player that the Chargers will be missing during a critical transition in the franchise’s history.
One has to imagine that when opposing coaches opened up their playbooks in preparing to play against the Chargers, they’d circle the name Freeney, took in a huge sigh of grief and worked feverishly in determining how to best contain him. Freeney has been a wild horse getting into the backfield and chasing after quarterbacks. Before the season started, Freeney spoke vividly about the opportunity to line up opposite to Peyton Manning and sacking his old quarterback. Unfortunately, that opportunity will have to wait at least another year.
True character, a humble player with an overflow of talent and leadership is hard to find. It’s an understatement to say that this strong willed individual will be missed on the field. Players will step up and do their best and make this mentors proud, but nothing takes the spirit of an individual football player, especially a guy like Dwight Freeney.