By Tim Peterson
(Costa Mesa) – The Chargers opened training camp Sunday at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa as they begin a new era as the Los Angeles Chargers.
An estimated crowd of 5,000 fans filled the bleachers while others stood and watched their previous heroes from San Diego run through drills and execute plays.
The Chargers finished 5-11 in 2016, their last in San Diego, and are looking to improve and win over the fans in Los Angeles this year. They will play their home games at StubHub Center in Carson.
It looked like they had done that already Sunday as the packed house cheered their every move from the time they entered the practice field until the final horn sounded ending the two hour workout.
“It’s exciting. I thought they did a good job today with their assignments and their communication. Right now we’re just trying to get out of the huddle and communicate,”said Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn on the first day of camp. “I can’t say that I was nervous. I was excited, looking forward to it.”
The Chargers are still led by the quarterback that has been leading them for the last 13 years – Philip Rivers. Rivers who turned 35 last December seemed as excited as ever about the transition to Los Angeles as well as the beginning of a new season.
“There was a little bit of an added nervous anticipation because of the unknown. As far as what was the turn out going to be, but it’s been awesome. Everybody’s excited. We’re fired up about continuing to earn that trust and respect,” Rivers said. “I think we have the talent this year. Now it’s building the camaraderie, the toughness, the fight, all of those things, and then of course you have to execute and play well.”
The reception of the big turnout was a welcome sight for Rivers.
“I didn’t anticipate this. My rookie year we were coming off of a bad season and we were in San Diego and we were in Carson. Now I was only there for one day in camp and literally I think there was about 12 people there. So for this there is a lot of excitement and we have a lot of players to be excited about.”
The Chargers will be in Costa Mesa all through training camp until the season begins. Although next Saturday, they will have a late afternoon practice at StubHub.
Regardless of where they are, if Sunday is any indication, you can see the excitement and momentum beginning to build.