Ex-CFL standout Inman makes his mark


SAN DIEGO -- Dontrelle Inman said he received about 100 texts from a host of family members, friends and former teammates after his breakout performance in the San Diego Chargers' exhibition-opening win against the Dallas Cowboys.

True to his nature, Inman responded to them all. That’s the type of accountability San Diego players have come to expect from Inman. The 25-year-old receiver is usually one of the first players on the field for training camp practices, and often the last one to leave, working with fellow receiver Eddie Royal to get a couple more catches in or fielding punts.

“He’s a guy who has come in and from Day 1 has worked extremely hard at his craft,” Chargers backup quarterback Kellen Clemens said. “So I was very happy for him, to see the work that he’s done -- a lot of times behind the scenes -- to have that show up when the lights are on.”

Inman finished with three receptions for 107 yards against the Cowboys, including a 70-yard touchdown on a perfect deep ball throw from Clemens. Inman’s effort confirmed what San Diego head coach Mike McCoy already had seen during offseason workouts and training camp practices from Inman -- a hard worker who has a chance to make an impact in the passing game if given the opportunity.

“You look out there and him [Inman] and Eddie [Royal] are out there running the hill,” McCoy said. “They’ve got the JUGS machine, the sprinklers coming towards them and they just move it out of their way. And that was something they did during the offseason program.”

Inman took the scenic route to the NFL. He signed with Jacksonville as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Virginia in 2011, but failed to make the final roster. Undeterred, Inman headed north to the CFL, earning a job with the Toronto Argonauts. In two seasons with Toronto, he totaled 100 catches for 1,542 yards and 11 touchdowns. Inman helped the Argonauts win a Grey Cup championship in 2012.

After a tryout in December, Inman signed a futures contract with the Chargers in February. At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Inman has the size to make plays in the middle of the field, but also the speed to separate against fast corners on the perimeter.

Inman said the competition level in San Diego’s deep receiving group has kept him on his toes.

“Every day you have to bring your ‘A’ game,” Inman said. “You never know, because from the bottom of the depth chart to the top, everybody’s talented. Everybody has their certain ways and certain things that they do that are phenomenally good. So being out there and giving your all, you have to do that every day.”

Inman should get another challenge on Friday, when the Chargers travel to face the Seattle Seahawks. With Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and the rest of the Legion of Boom, Inman looks forward to matching up against some of the best defensive backs in the game.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Every offensive player wants to go against every defense -- no matter good or bad -- you always want that challenge. I’m the type of person who always wants to accept that challenge and find a way to make me better.”