COSTA MESA, CA-Southern California fans still love their Chargers. The team’s move from San Diego has left some fans disgruntled, but the Chargers still have plenty of support. Just in case anyone have been wondering, Chargers fans roll deep. Judging by the size of the crowd attending the first day of the Los Angeles Chargers training camp, the team’s exodus from San Diego to their temporary home in Orange County, and to their eventual Los Angeles County destination, the fan base is alive and well.
The second and third days of training camp may have gone a bit quieter, but the enthusiasm over the team remain elevated.
“I’ve been a Chargers fans since they were in San Diego; they moved down here, so I have to follow them,” said first-year season ticket-holder Alex Trujillo. “Just a lot of heart is what I really want to see in them, a lot of energy. Last season, I would say with the coach there wasn’t very much energy I felt lacked. So new coach, new energy. I think it’s going to be a good season for us.”
The excitement of a new season is high. The buzz about the NFL being front and center in the heart of Orange County turns out to be a big deal. With a lot of chatter and speculation around the move to play in the Los Angeles market, the Chargers and their fans are all on board full steam ahead.
“I’m excited for the season,” said Peter Wencso. “I’m really so excited because LA gets a second NFL team. I look forward to seeing how they do here. I think they (Chargers) are going to go to the playoffs, hopefully the Super Bowl.”
The overflow crowd on the first day at Jack Hammett Sports Complex, where the Chargers will hold 13 training camp practices, was enthusiastic. The buzz from the fans at having the opportunity to catch their favorite player warm up and go through conditioning drills before they walked over to sign their John Hancock on pieces of paper, min-helmets and footballs, was expectedly high in the air.
Making the day even sweeter was the appearance of former running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who will be immortalized in the NFL Hall of Fame. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who was a firsthand witness to many of those great LT years, is certainly appreciative of having Tomlinson as a teammate.
“Real thankful to have been part and share in some of his career and to hand it off to him,” said Rivers. “I’ve always said I had the best view in the house. Some of the catches he made…I had the best view, right there in HD, up close. So it’s awesome that he’s going in.”
Adding intrigue to the Chargers’ move is the fact the show is being led by first-year head coach Anthony Lynn. Asked if he felt any first day jitters, Lynn, who served as offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills last season, said he couldn’t really say he felt them or not.
“I can’t say that I was nervous on the first day,” Lynn said. “I was excited. I was looking forward to it.”
When it comes to anticipation, there is a lot of that when it comes to wide receiver Mike Williams, the Chargers first round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. Williams, who starred on the national championship-winning Clemson football team, is one of several players on the team’s active/physically unable to perform list.
Sooner or later, Williams will take the field. For now, fans will have to wait with eager expectations. Oscar Mencos, attending his first training camp, said he has only one expectation.
“A winning season,” said Mencos.