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CHICAGO - DECEMBER 17: Defensive lineman Antonio Garay #90 of the Chicago Bears is seen on the field during warm-ups against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers December 17, 2006 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears won 34-31 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Twenty-six years ago, William “The Refrigerator” Perry crossed sides.
The 6-foot-2, 386-pound defensive tackle lined up on offense as a fullback in goal-line situations, where the rookie blocked, ran and even caught passes for the Chicago Bears.
At this Saturday's preseason opener, the Bears could become the first team to meet the Chargers' “Mini-Fridge.”
The Chargers are exploring the idea of using defensive tackle Antonio Garay as a goal-line fullback. The four-year veteran, who coicidentally is an ex-Bear, has some weight to throw around as a lead blocker. He tips the scale at 320 pounds, tying him for the sixth heaviest player in training camp.
“It's something we're looking at and we could do, yes,” coach Norv Turner said Monday at a team press conference. “It's easier said than done, but I think he's comfortable enough doing it and that he'll play fast. We know he'll be physical, but if he'll play fast, then we can use him down there.”
The team's focus on becoming more physical offensively coincides with its attempt to give fullback Mike Tolbert, the team's hardest runner, more carries this season. Tolbert's physical style provides a change of pace to balanced rookie Ryan Mathews and the shifty Darren Sproles.
If the Chargers elect to use Tolbert as a rusher in its goal-line sets and need someone to pave his road to the end zone, having a 320 pounder on call becomes a handy lifeline.
At the very least, Garay's prospects as a lead blocker will be fun to watch develop
Defenses might disagree.