Being a pass rusher for the San Diego Chargers has been a hazardous occupation this season. The Bolts added their third big name to the injured reserve list on Tuesday at the outside linebacker position with former first round pick Larry English getting shelved due to a biceps injury. Now the question is will this be the last we see of English with lightning bolts on his helmet?
When San Diego selected the former Northern Illinois Huskies pass rusher 16th overall in the 2009 NFL Draft they hoped to land the heir apparent to the rapidly eroding Shawne Merriman. Given “Lights Out”’s performance in his first three years in the league, the expectations were through the roof for English to produce from day one. His lackluster performances marred with injuries kept any hopes of rekindling that pass rushing magic on a permanent hiatus as English’s five-year career in San Diego has yielded just 11 sacks – Merriman’s first three years produced 39.5.
Obviously the injury issue has been a theme for the Chargers when it comes to pass rushers. Merriman’s career was derailed by a steroid suspension and then a subsequent ACL tear that left him a shell of his former self. The Bolts also lost 2012 first round pick Melvin Ingram to a torn ACL back in May minicamps so he has yet to step foot on the field in year two. His immediate replacement in veteran Dwight Freeney was lost back in October to a torn quadriceps leaving the Bolts even one man shorter in their rotation. Jarret Johnson has been plagued by nagging ailments all season as well which has clearly kept the Chargers’ pass rush to a minimum this season.
English’s contract will be up at the conclusion of this season, and it seems highly unlikely that the Chargers would bring back a player with such an injury-riddled past and a lack of production to go along with it. Adding yet another pass rushing threat via the draft may be high on general manager Tom Telesco’s list of priorities heading into the 2014 NFL Draft as this team looks to regain the swagger it once had as a pass rushing mecca of sorts.