Players’ free agency decisions generally focus around money, but for Los Angeles Chargers safety Tre Boston, that was not the case.
Rather, an incredible turn of events at a Carolina gas station — and what Boston believes was God himself speaking to the safety — caused the former Panthers defensive back to make his free agency decision and sign with Los Angeles.
Boston grinned from ear-to-ear as he told the story, which was coincidentally captured on a Chargers periscope on Twitter on Tuesday.
“I get to the gas station [and] pump my gas, Boston said. “So then, as I pump my gas, I go to put my wallet in the car. When I put my wallet in the car, I come back out and [there’s] a man with three kids and he asks me for a little bit of change.”
“I gave him a twenty. He says ‘thank you so much’ and [tells me God put me in his life for a reason]. In my mind, I’m telling him ‘you’re here for a reason too.’”
Boston seemed to have made it his mission to turn this spur-of-the-moment gas station encounter into a life-altering decision. He wanted his interaction with this man to determine whether Boston would join the Chargers or the Buffalo Bills.
“Should I ask him L.A. or Buffalo?”
Boston thought of a few ways he could pose the question — [Los Angeles] or Buffalo, Option 1 or Option 2 and etcetera, but before he could even get the words out of his mouth, the safety was taken by surprise.
“My name is Mike Daniels, but the people call me L.A.,” the man said.
“What?” Boston was stunned.
“My name is Mike Daniels, but the people call me L.A.,” he repeated.
Boston admitted that he started to cry when Daniels said what he said.
“I went to reach and get a tissue in my car to wipe my face. As I was going down, there was a pillar...In the pillar, as I looked down to get the tissue, I thought I [saw] Jesus. So I’m scared coming back — I wipe my eyes, I look down at the pillar [and] I [saw] a picture. There’s a card that says ‘Jesus saves’ on the pillar. So now I’m like ‘you know, if I didn’t think it was Jesus [by now, well now] I know it’s God.”
Boston and Daniels talked for 30 minutes or so, and at the end of the interaction, the safety noticed the coincidences.
Daniels had pulled up into a “Do Not Service” pump next to him, Boston himself didn’t even need to fill up his tank but spontaneously decided to fill it up when it wasn’t even entirely necessary and, of course, the man went by L.A.
“I ended up giving him like $100, because I knew he changed my life just like I changed his life, and honestly that’s the reason why I’m [with Los Angeles]. It didn’t matter how much money was given to me, it didn’t matter really who was on the team [though] it happened to be a great fit — God told me [to] come here, so that’s my testimony, and I’m here.”
The Chargers really do seem like a perfect fit for Boston. His meeting with the team went great, he fits what the team is looking for in a rotational safety and he’ll likely see ample playing time as he looks to turn a one-year contract with the team into a long-term deal come next offseason.
Boston praised Gus Bradley, Anthony Lynn and assistant defensive backs coach Chris Harris — the latter of whom he spent some time with in Carolina as he spoke with Chargers.com’s Ricky Henne earlier this week.
“The coaches really embraced what I can bring to this team. They know the exact role they want for me in this defense. They had a true vision for me, and I felt a need and want to have me here. It was true. They had real love for me.”
Boston also praised the players he’ll join in the secondary, citing Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward as Pro Bowl-caliber players, along with Jahleel Addae, who he called “strong.”
“I knew the guys I’d be around could set me up for success. I’ve been here for just a couple hours and it’s been amazing. The guys have embraced me ASAP.”
Whether it was chance or God who brought Boston to Los Angeles, the Chargers are lucky to have the safety around.