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With Eric Weddle gone, Dwight Lowery next man up for Chargers

SAN DIEGO -- The inevitable finally happened on Monday, with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reporting that former San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle signed a four-year, $26 million deal to join the Baltimore Ravens in free agency.

Schefter reports the deal includes $13 million in guaranteed money.

The Chargers already made a move in anticipation of Weddle signing elsewhere, inking Indianapolis Colts free-agent safety Dwight Lowery to a three-year, $7.2 million deal last week.

A 30-year-old journeyman who has started 72 games and is on his fifth team in nine NFL seasons, Lowery faced the obvious question during his introductory press conference at Chargers Park.

How do you replace the best safety ever to suit up for the Chargers in Weddle?

Lowery provided a well-thought out answer in response.

“I know there’s a lot being said about the safety position,” he said. “It’s going to be a challenge to replace the legend that is Eric Weddle, what he’s done here and what he’s established here.

“But I’m ready for the challenge, and I appreciate challenges. They bring out the best in all of us, and that’s what I’m coming here for.”

Weddle was the only safety in the NFL named first or second-team All-Pro for five straight seasons from 2010 to 2014. Since 2008, Weddle played an average of 953 snaps for the Chargers during the regular season.

But Lowery isn’t expected to replace the durability and production Weddle provided the Chargers since his arrival as a second-round pick in the 2007 draft. Lowery should just focus on being himself and playing to his potential. The rest will take care of itself.

Lowery said he played in a similar system with the Colts last season, with Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano running a similar version of the 3-4 defense as younger brother Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano.

That should greatly help in the transition to San Diego. Further, Lowery is a natural playmaker who finds the ball, evidenced by his four interceptions in 2015. That’s a badly needed addition to a San Diego secondary that finished with just eight interceptions last season.

The resilient Lowery said his experience and travels in the league the past decade should serve him well in San Diego.

“I’m more confident with who I am as a person,” Lowery said. “I’ve been through a lot of up and downs throughout my career. I’ve been traded. I’ve been cut. I’ve had to try out for teams. I’ve been a part of a lot of hirings and firings, owner changes and one-year contracts.

“I’ve been through a lot, and I believe that’s made me into the man I am today. And I think that it’s keeps me going. I think I went through all of those things for a reason. And I really want to leave some sort of imprint.”