The NFL offseason has changed a bit in recent years.
In the past, it was never a question of whether or not the team’s best players would be there for every single offseason activity. I mean, why wouldn’t they? They’re the ones who set the standard and lead by example. If they are not going to be there, what would that say to the rest of the team, including the impressionable rookies?
But that’s not exactly the case anymore these days. Standout players have developed their own routines (training elsewhere, working with individual coaches) and at times, those habits trump most team activities. Yes, those activities are mainly the voluntary ones, but everyone knows if there’s a chance to be with your team and build camaraderie, you should likely be there.
This offseason, head coach Brandon Staley hasn’t had to work with any players choosing to train and prepare elsewhere. All of the team’s brightest stars — Austin Ekeler, Justin Herbert, Derwin James, etc. — have all been with the team through every ounce of OTAs and minicamp.
When Staley stepped up to the podium on Wednesday, he made sure to vocalize how much he appreciates his players for making sure they were together through some of the most crucial team-building moments of the offseason.
“I was just really appreciative of the entire offseason,” said Staley. “The attendance was fantastic, and that says so much about the leadership of our team. We just appreciate it because we know how the NFL is in the offseason. To have everybody here, I feel like it allows us to improve a lot more, to kind of set the culture of our team, the direction of our team. Now, we’re ready for training camp. Very thankful for the guys.”
For those who have been following Staley closely ever since he was hired by the Chargers in 2021, you know that one of his biggest priorities as a coach is developing relationships throughout the entire team. He cares about his guys and he wants his guys to care about everyone else, and that also extends to all the people who play important roles off the field, as well.
The Chargers have now broke for summer where they’ll get to recharge with their families and loved ones ahead of this year’s training camp. With no major setbacks this offseason thus far, the expectation will be to hit the ground running at full speed once the team reconvenes later this summer.