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Seyi Ajirotutu comes up big for the Chargers

By Annie Heilbrunn
|  Monday, Nov 25, 2013  |  Updated 9:30 PM PDT
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Seyi Ajirotutu comes up big for the Chargers

AP

San Diego Chargers wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu (16) celebrates with teammates Ladarius Green (89) and Rich Ohrnberger (74) after Ajirotutu caught a pass in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chargers won the game 41-38. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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Before Sunday, Seyi Ajirotutu wasn't a household name.

But after he caught the game-winning pass in the Chargers come-from-behind victory against the Kansas City Chiefs, national broadcasters had to learn how to pronounce his last name.

And his first.

SAY-EE. SAY-EYE. A-JAR-A-TOO-TOO. A-SHEER-A-TOO-TOO.

"It’s a little challenging seeing nine letters in a last name," Ajirotutu said Monday. "It’s okay. It’s happened since I was in kindergarten.”

His name may have been botched and bobbled, but his catch was not.

With 24 seconds left on the play clock, on second-and-15, Rivers threw a perfectly placed ball to the wide receiver, a 26-yard pass that seemingly dropped into Ajirotutu's hands.

"It was a perfect throw," Ajirotutu said.

It was his only reception of the game. In fact, before Sunday, the special teamer had only caught two passes this season -- both in the game against the Dolphins, when rookie Keenan Allen was sidelined with an injury.

“I was ready," Ajirotutu said. "That’s what we do all week in practice. I catch balls and work on the scout team. I’m always working on my craft and I’m ready to go."

Ajirotutu, who was a Charger in 2010 when he made the team as an undrafted rookie, bounced between San Diego and the Carolina Panthers before being called in by the Chargers in training camp after wide receiver Danario Alexander went on injured reserve.

“He is an unselfish player and what he has done on special teams is outstanding," said head coach Mike McCoy. "He loves the game and he wants to help the team win. For him to make the big catch at the end is a reward for him working so hard. I think it says a lot about what Philip [Rivers] thinks of him too.”

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