There really is no other nickname that could suit rookie NT Ryan Carrethers any better. One look at his 6' 1", 333-lb frame and it's apparent that this guy is the epitome of brute strength. He has legs as thick as 30-year old oak trees. Shoulders that could harness a yoke. And biceps that could rip the everyday man's shirt to shreds, simply by the heart beat running through his veins.
Carrethers is beyond strong. He says he can bench press 500lbs and squat 700. And even without any formal team competition, whispers are being murmured about his place in the Chargers gym pantheon.
"I heard the rumors that I'm one of the strongest," Carrethers said. "And you never know. I definitely feel like I can contribute when it comes to brute natural strength."
His incredible strength garnered him the nickname ‘The Hulk' during his time at Arkansas State, where he tallied 196 tackles and 6.5 sacks in his 4-year career. With San Diego his new home, Carrethers understands that it's back to square one in trying to prove to teammates and coaches he belongs.
"I want them to see my relentless effort. That's what I want to show them," Carrethers said. "That I might stumble, but I'll get right back up and try my hardest every time and that you expect a hard player that even if the play didn't come my way, that if I'm there at the near the tackle I'm going to do everything to be a part of it."
Like most kids growing up, playing in the NFL was a lifelong dream. Even after hearing that he had been selected in the 5th round (165th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft, it wasn't till Carrethers put on his No. 92 jersey for the first time during rookie mini-camp, that he fully grasped that he had finally made it.
"It was the time when I realized that I'm an NFL player and it's time to get to work," Carrethers said. "You know when you're a kid; you say ‘when I grow up I want to be an NFL player'. Then you grow up and you develop as a player and you see how rare it is to actually making it. It's great man. A lot of people don't get to realize this or even try for it."
Carrethers participated in the Chargers rookie mini-camp in May and this week is finishing up the team's 3rd week of Organized Team Activities. Being on a new field with new teammates these past few weeks could be likened to stepping on the Arkansas State campus for the first time.
"I think it was a mixture of emotions," Carrethers said. "I was obviously nervous but I knew it was time to do a job and do it to the best of my ability. A lot of work to do, but I got to take it one step at a time and be the role that I need to be."
That role leading up to the first day of training camp has been specified by Defensive Coordinator John Pagano and Defensive Line Coach Don Williams.
And it's quite simple.
"Learn the playbook," Carrethers said. "And consistency in my technique and my effort and to make plays like I did in college. Obviously there's a learning curve, extremely significant things they are teaching me. I just got to take it for what it's worth and learn and adapt to it."
For the meantime, the ‘Hulk' will rely on those natural talents that were bestowed upon him: Those arms that are bigger than some peoples waists, those shoulders that extend forever and that base that shakes the earth just a little bit every time he walks.
"My strength and I have naturally great leverage and am able to transfer my weight pretty significantly," Carrethers said. "I obviously have the size and the strength to contribute."
Soon, it will be Chargers opponents enduring the strength and relentless effort of San Diego's newest Marvel.