Derwin James is ready to get back on the football field. In a Zoom teleconference call with reporters, James talked about his offseason workouts, how different it is to do almost everything virtually because of the COVID-19 crisis, and how he is looking forward to playing football again.
“It’s been very different, man,” James said. “Things have not been going like how you plan for them to go for your normal offseason, but you know, you have to adjust. I’m finding new ways to train, new ways to do meetings, new ways to do interviews. So it’s just something different.” I feel like we’re all getting something out of this.”
You can’t blame the young Los Angeles Chargers‘ safety for his eagerness. That’s because before his second year with the Chargers could officially get started, it was abruptly interrupted.
James went down with a foot injury (stress fracture) in August, had surgery, and missed the bulk of the 2019 NFL season. He would get in on only five games as opposed to the 16 he played as a rookie. And what a difference that made for the Chargers with their defensive enforcer not able to go for 11 games.
James said he feels like he is in a better place physically than he was at this point last year.
“I feel very strong right now, especially in my lower body,” James said. “I feel like I got a lot of strength. you know, just overcoming the injury last season, you know, not being able to do stuff for months, kind of let my legs go down but just getting them back to form and I feel like I’m getting in tip=top shape. I feel like workouts (have) been going good. I’m getting great work every day.”
In his first season with the Chargers, James came out of the gate of the 2018 NFL season like he was on a mission. The Chargers did as well. With James playing all 16 games, the Chargers played themselves to a 12-4 record and a deep playoff run.
With James out of the lineup for most of the season in 2019, the Chargers limped their way to a 5-11 won-loss record. A healthy James could mean a subsequent rebound for the Chargers, a team undergoing a transformative roster makeup. James’ buddy on the backend of the Chargers defense, Adrian Phillips, is now a member of the New England Patriots.
James and Phillips were two of three Chargers defensive stalwarts who made All-Pro for their productivity in 2018. Quarterback Philip Rivers is now employed with the Indianapolis Colts. Running back Melvin Gordon is making his home with the Denver Broncos for the next couple of seasons.
So this is going to be a much different team that James will come back to whenever the Chargers get on the field together. Despite the exodus of longtime core players, the former Florida State star sounded excited about the new season.
“I can’t wait to this next upcoming season…(I’m) ready to get out of the house,” James said. “
Back in 2018, James was a rookie eager to show his worth and that he belonged in the NFL. It turns out James did a whole lot more than prove his salt as a player. He became one of the best, earning All-Pro first-team honors.
Looking every bit the heir to former Seattle Seahawks star strong safety Kam Chancellor, James dominated the scene from his position, recording 109 tackles, picking off three passes, and generally becoming a defensive nightmare to opposing offenses throughout his first campaign as a Charger.
James was one of just four rookies in the history of the league to earn the first-team All-Pro distinction, and the only Chargers rookie (thus far) to receive that recognition.
Dennis is the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, MLB, racial and social justice, civil rights, and HBCUs. Dennis earned a journalism degree from “The Mecca” aka Howard University. “I write on what I am passionate about.”