Stop us if you've heard this before over the franchise's history, but the LA Chargers experienced some brutal injury luck in 2022.
For obvious reasons, Justin Herbert's rib cartilage fracture stole the spotlight and it was glaring when Joey Bosa, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams missed time. While all pivotal to the Chargers' success, Rashawn Slater might be No. 2 on the roster behind Herbert.
Big things were expected from Slater after his Pro Bowl rookie season, but he ruptured his left biceps tendon in Week 3 and was placed on injured reserve for the rest of the year. There was hope Slater would return if the Chargers made a playoff run, but those dreams ended after LA's gutting Wild Card loss to the Jaguars.
It was a tough break for Slater and the Bolts, but the budding left tackle is feeling fantastic at OTAs.
Chargers LT Rashawn Slater is fully recovered from biceps injury
Slater noted after Wednesday's practice that his bicep has been "100 percent healthy for a while now." He added that he's been pain-free for multiple months. That's outstanding news, and Chargers fans will love hearing that Slater has even more motivation to reach his career goals after the season-ending injury.
"Extremely," Slater said of how motivated he is post-injury. "I feel like the biggest thing I learned from that was just how easily this could be taken away from you. You only get so much time as it is in the NFL."
"If you get something like that, that's already taking a year off of a relatively short career. I really just feel a lot of urgency to get where I want to be."
It was a small sample size, but Slater looked like he was headed for an All-Pro season before the injury. Per Pro Football Focus, the 24-year-old allowed one sack and three pressures on 113 pass-blocking snaps in three games, giving him a 84.0 player grade, 72.8 pass-blocking grade and 88.0 run-blocking grade.
In other Chargers news, the team signed XFL receiver Darrius Shepherd.
If the name sounds familiar, that's because Shepherd has bounced around the NFL in his career. He made the Packers 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent in 2019 and posted six catches for 47 yards in two seasons while averaging 18.7 yards per kickoff return on three returns.
Shepherd hasn't appeared in a regular season game since, but he's spent time on the practice squads of the Cardinals, Chiefs, Steelers, Broncos and Vikings. Struggling to find a stable NFL home, he took his talents to the USFL in 2022 before joining the XFL's St. Louis Battlehawks this year.
In 10 games, Shepherd caught 48 passes for 519 yards and six touchdowns with the Battlehawks. He also was named the XFL's top special teams player.
Terms of Shepherd's contract with the Chargers weren't disclosed. The team released linebacker Damon Lloyd in a corresponding move, bringing the roster to 89 players.