SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 05: Seyi Ajirotutu #89 of the San Diego Chargers is pursued by Stanford Routt #26 of the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 28-13. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
The Chargers placed kick returner Richard Goodman on injured reserve and signed wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu.
To begin the news conference one reporter jokingly told Ajirotutu that head coach Norv Turner was banking on him to turn things around. After a good chuckle, Arijotutu became emphatic.
“If he did, perfect,” Ajirotutu said. “I’m ready to do whatever I can to help the team out, obviously they brought me in week nine. I’m just ready to do my part.”
Ajirotutu got the call at 11:36 A.M. Monday morning. He had to be at the team meeting at noon.
“I was definitely here by 12,” Ajirotutu said. “I didn’t want to give them a chance to change their mind.”
The Chargers signed the undrafted rookie free agent in 2010. At 6-foot-3, the rookie out of Fresno State managed 262 yards and two touchdowns on 13 balls. Both touchdowns came in his third NFL game at the Houston Texans. In that game alone he caught for 111 yards.
He spent last year with the Carolina Panthers were he played in 14 games. He only caught one reception for four yards.
Before he joined the San Diego team on Monday, he spent most of his time at San Diego State training, practicing, and waiting.
“I was just waiting,” Ajirotutu said. “Hoping I would have a shot in the dark. It happened and I’m glad to be here. I’m just hoping to make something happen.”
The wait is over and while the short week doesn’t give time for many drastic changes, Ajirotutu doesn’t think the changes need to be drastic for the Chargers to be on the winning side of the games.
He did say there is one thing the Chargers are lacking that is hurting them.
“Day-in and day-out consistency,” Ajirotutu said. “A lot of teams have that problem. It’s easy to say but hard to do. I hope I can be a part of making things run smoothly.”
Quarterback Philip Rivers doesn't think Thursday is too early to see number 13 making a difference on the field.
“He’s got the ability to step right in,” Rivers said. “He was always one the sharpest guys to step in in terms of a playbook standpoint, so he’ll have no problem adjusting.”
Running back Ryan Mathews and Ajirotutu spent three years playing together for the Bulldogs of Fresno.
“He’s my best friend,” Ajirotutu said of Mathews.
Mathews is glad to have his friend back in the powder blue as well.
“It’s good to have him back, he’s a hard worker. A good athlete, he’s going to do as much as he can to help the team out to win,” Mathews said. “And that’s a good compliment to our team. He’s going to add a lot to our offense and help bring it up a little bit.”
But instead of coming to the games as he has this season, as Mathews' guest, Ajirotutu will be will be anxiously toeing the sideline, looking on, waiting for his number to be called.