46 days until LA Chargers football: Speedy Duncan lived up to his name


LA Chargers football is getting closer and closer to being a reality.

Counting today, we are officially 44 days away from the LA Chargers‘ scheduled Week 1 showdown against first overall pick Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. That is, as long as the 2020 NFL season goes forward as currently planned.

We have been counting down the days here at Bolt Beat and to do so we have been naming the best players in franchise history to wear each number that corresponds with the number of days remaining.

Thus far, there have only been two active Chargers to earn the honor in this series — Melvin Ingram and Sam Tevi, of all people.

With 45 days remaining we dive into the best number 45 in team history, which not only is not a current player, but is someone who has not played in a long time.

The best number 45 in LA Chargers’ history: Speedy Duncan

Leslie Herbert Duncan, deemed Speedy Duncan, certainly lived up to his namesake. The cornerback first joined the Chargers in the 1964 season and spent seven years with the Chargers in the AFL before jumping ship to the NFL with the Washington Football Team.

Duncan was an elite player for the LA Chargers in two different avenues of the game. Not only did his speed make him one of the best cornerbacks in the early AFL days, but he was also an elite punt and kick returner as well.

Duncan led the league twice in yards per punt return and led in touchdowns twice. In 1965, he took two punts back to the house.

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Duncan never took a kickoff to the house but he was a solid kick returner nonetheless. Duncan averaged 25.3 yards per kick return during his Charger career.

Duncan did not spend much time on the defensive side of the ball in his first season with the Bolts but became a starting corner for the team thereafter. He recorded 21 interceptions in his five seasons as a starter, which included a seven-inteception season as well as a six-interception season.

No player that has worn the number 45 in Chargers’ history has come close to what Duncan accomplished. Duncan accumulated 53 career Approximate Value with the Chargers while the next best to wear the number accumulated 15.

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He was a three-time Pro Bowler and was one of the cornerbacks and special teams players in the AFL. Most current Charger fans likely don’t know or remember Duncan, but he is one of the franchise’s all-time greats.