Freeney signs with Chargers, not yet in camp

SAN DIEGO — With the Chargers entering their second week of organized team activities the goal for head coach Mike McCoy continues to be searching for the best 53 players to fill the roster. 

And the front office doesn’t appear to be done signing players to fill it.

On Saturday the team announced the signing of 33-year-old Dwight Freeney to a two-year deal with the idea that he can help fill the void left behind when second-year linebacker Melvin Ingram tore his ACL during workouts last week. McCoy said he wouldn’t go into details as to how the injury happened, except that it was “one of those injuries that happen in practice, rushing the passer, an inside pass rush movement, put his foot down and the rest is history.”

McCoy said Freeney was an experienced veteran and “one of the great pass rushers of all time.”

Freeney wasn’t at Chargers Park Monday due to a prior obligation, according to McCoy.

Defensive coordinator John Pagano said he was excited with the addition of Freeney. Despite not being present for the OTAs and not having much experience in the 3-4 defensive scheme, Pagano said the difference between a 3-4 and a 4-3 is so minimal. “He’s such a great player, I think you make him fit wherever he can fit in. The things that he does and what he’s done over the years…it gives us the ability now to do a lot more things that we as a defensive unit want to do,” he said.

Freeney, a seven-time Pro Bowler with the Indianapolis Colts, became a free agent at the end of last season when the Colts didn’t re-sign him. A high ankle injury may have reduced his effectiveness last season, including switching positions from defensive end to linebacker.

And just when Freeney joins the team is still up in the air, but McCoy said he’d be here “when he’s ready to go.”

As for any leadership role he may have on defense, Pagano said it would take some time.

“Just from hearing how he was at Indy and how he’s going to be (here) I think the number one thing will be his work ethic. How he does it out on the field. It’s going to take time for us to get to know him being a vocal leader….

“When he gets here and gets his opportunity going, I think that work ethic alone on the field is going to be what drives him,” Pagano said.

In other news, the Chargers released tackle Kevin Haslam and announced the signing of former Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle 31-year-old Max Starks.

 

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