Dwight Freeney likes fit in new D
Freeney, a seven-time Pro Bowler, never seemed comfortable last season with the Indianapolis Colts after moving from a 4-3 defensive end, where he spent his first 10 NFL seasons, to a 3-4 outside linebacker. The Chargers also run a 3-4 defense.
But Freeney said San Diego defensive coordinator John Pagano, the younger brother of Colts coach Chuck Pagano, told him there wasn't anything he did last year that was considered bad and said he's comfortable with John Pagano's plans for him.
"I think the biggest thing was that, he was going to allow me to do a little bit of what I do," said Freeney, who will be used as an edge rusher on the right side. "It wasn't, 'Dwight, here, we're going to take you and put you in this thing and do things that you're not used to doing.' He said, 'You know what, we're going to put you in place to make plays, in familiar places, so that you're comfortable and you can just ball out.'"
For Freeney, that means "just being comfortable getting after the quarterback, getting after the running back, forward penetration. Not a lot of times am I going to be in reverse, you know, backpedaling, going away from the guy with the ball, but I'm sure there will be times when I have to do it. Hopefully the blitz will get there. I'm going to have fun with it."
Freeney agreed to a two-year contract with the Chargers on May 18, literally as he was boarding a jet for a European vacation. The deal could be worth $13.35 million.
The deal to bring Freeney to the Chargers came four days after outside linebacker Melvin Ingram tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a padless practice. It also helped cushion the loss of outside linebackers Antwan Barnes and Shaun Phillips to free agency.
Freeney was the 11th overall selection in the 2002 draft. During his time with the Colts, he combined with Robert Mathis to form one of the most fearsome pass-rush tandems in the league. His 44 forced fumbles are the most by any NFL player since 2002, and he was one of 13 players in Colts history to participate in more than 100 victories.
Freeney, who is the Colts' sacks leader with 107.5, is 33 and entering his 12th season. He led the NFL with 16 sacks in 2004. After recording 13.5 sacks in 2009, his totals declined each of the past three years. He had five in 2012.
He said he thinks he has a lot left.
"We'll see what happens, but I feel good and I'm glad to be here."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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