When walking into the Chargers locker room then turning left you look straight at No. 33’s locker. The player who wears that jersey always has a smile on his face no matter what.
Thursday was the first day No. 33, safety Derwin James, spoke to the media since he suffered a stress fracture in his right foot in training camp that required surgery. He sat with a walking boot on his foot, a media scrum around him, and a smile on his face.
"It's very disappointing because I wanted to be out there as much as I can, especially with the momentum that I had coming into the season," James said. "It kind of sucks, but it's part of ball."
On August 15th, the Chargers had a joint practice against the New Orleans Saints. Quarterback Drew Brees threw a pass that was deflected into the air and intercepted by James.
"I kind of knew it when I threw the ball in the air after the interception," James said. "When I was going to run down there and take a picture after the interception, I knew at that moment, 'Yeah, it kind of feels like it did in college.'"
James traveled to Green Bay to have surgery with foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson, who last year consulted teammate Joey Bosa on his own foot injury.
Even though the second-year safety can’t be on the field he is helping in other areas, so he can stay close to the game when it’s time to suit up again.
"He broke down the defense today before we came in," defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. "We want to make sure he's very engaged, he's in the meetings and stays up on things. And he's done a good job with that.”
The Chargers put James on IR when the season started, so that means he must miss at least eight games. Like Bradley said he is passing the time by breaking the game down and staying focused on what he sees on the field, so James has given himself another kind of title.
“I’m in coach mode right now,” said the former Seminole. “I’m Coach James right now. Still having the mental part of the game, still being there mentally, even though I’m not physically out there, going through my plays.”
The first-year All-Pro admitted it was hard to watch his team on Sunday from a sky box, but that he was proud of his guys for getting the victory. He will continue to rehab and even though he did not offer a specific timetable, his goal is to play this season.
“For sure,” he said. “That’s the goal.”
James Shows Secondary Some Love
On Thursday afternoon, James showed up with gifts for his fellow defensive backs. He bought them each an electric Bird scooter. Each was decked out in powder blue with Chargers lightning bolts.
“I feel like, ‘Man, I gotta be on a scooter,’” joked James. “‘Why not get everybody a scooter?’ We all can ride together now.”
The group known as the “Jack Boyz” is truly tightknit and are always the loudest guys in the locker room.
“It’s so cool,” explained cornerback Brandon Facyson, “DJ looked out for us. We appreciate it. I am going to take it for a spin after practice.”.
Nuts N’ Bolts
•Chargers injury list, did not practice: CB Mike Davis (hamstring), TE Hunter Henry (knee), WR Mike Williams (knee). Limited practice: DE Isaac Rochell (concussion), S Roderic Teamer (hamstring), K Michael Badgley (right groin), LB Jatavis Brown (ankle), WR Geremy Davis (hamstring), LB Denzel Perryman (ankle).