41 days until LA Chargers football: Lorenzo Neal, the blocking freight train

(Photo by Mark Konezny/NFLPhotoLibrary) - LA Chargers
(Photo by Mark Konezny/NFLPhotoLibrary) - LA Chargers /

We are 41 days away from seeing the LA Chargers back in action.

We have been counting down the day until the LA Chargers are back in action here at Bolt Beat. Counting today, we are officially 41 days away from the Bolts’ scheduled Week 1 showdown against first overall pick Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. That is, as long as the 2020 NFL season proceeds as planned.

To count down the season we have been naming the best players in franchise history to wear each corresponding number with the number of days remaining until that Week 1 matchup. Thus far, the only active Chargers to earn the honor is defensive end Melvin Ingram and offensive tackle Sam Tevi, of all people.

The greatest number 41 in team history is a legend. This is more than just him being the best of a mediocre bunch, he is one of the most important players of one of the most successful period in franchise history.

He was a blocking freight train.

The best number 41 in LA Chargers’ history: Lorenzo Neal

Typically, we look at Pro-Football-Reference’s Approximate Value chart for the uniform number that we are currently on. More times than not, the best player in team history to wear the number leads the list or is at least near the top of it.

That is not the case here as fullbacks do not get love when it comes to AV. The best number 41 in franchise history ranks fourth on the list, with a grand total of just nine career AV with the Chargers.

Despite this, Lorenzo Neal is still heads and shoulders above any other player in franchise history to wear the number and is one of the greatest fullbacks of all-time.

Neal was responsible for blocking in front of LaDainian Tomlinson during his prime and a portion of LT’s success has to go to Neal. LT would have still been a Hall of Fame running back, sure, but could he have been a historic running back? Who knows.

Neal spent 16 seasons in the NFL but spent more time on the Chargers (five seasons) than any other team. He was a Pro Bowler four times in his career and an All-Pro twice. Three of his four Pro Bowl nods came with the Bolts and both All-Pros came with the team in 2006 and 2007, LT’s two best seasons.

Neal is also one of the few players in Chargers’ history to get a 99 overall rating in an installment of EA’s Madden franchise. Not so bad for a fullback.

Next. Best number 42 in team history

With the fullback being phased out of the modern NFL game, there is a decent chance that there will never be a fullback as good as Lorenzo Neal on the LA Chargers ever again.