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News » San Diego Chargers Inside Slant 2008-08-18


San Diego Chargers Inside Slant 2008-08-18


San Diego Chargers Inside Slant 2008-08-18
Chargers fullback Michael Tolbert, an undrafted rookie, is opening some camp eyes by displaying his two biggest attributes.


"Heart and desire," Tolbert said on how he'll be a Charger come opening day. "If you tell me I can't do something, that just pushes me harder because it comes from deep down. I can make those nonbelievers, believers by being the best back on and off the field."

His field of NFL dreams is Chargers Park. His field of his college days is one Tomlinson never heard of.

Go Coastal Carolina?

Tomlinson did realize Tolbert's alma mater had a football team, right?

"I did not," Tomlinson admitted.

Tomlinson can't lie about something else -- the undrafted Tolbert has done well.

"I'm excited about his development and think he is doing a great job so far," Tomlinson said.

The team released Pro Bowl fullback Lorenzo Neal in the offseason and Andrew Pinnock, the next in line, is slow in recovering from knee surgery. A third-round pick was spent on Jacob Hester, but he's as much a tailback as a fullback.

So on a team loaded with stars and well-known names, Tolbert just might be the summer surprise.

Tomlinson said Tolbert has done well when getting work with the first unit.

"One thing I have noticed is it's not too big for him," Tomlinson said. "A lot of times you get guys running with the first team and it's too big for them and they can't handle the pressure, but not Mike."

Tolbert has already learned a valuable lesson -- it's better being the hammer than the nail.

"He gets to his blocks and he hits," Tomlinson said. "He's not trying to pity-paddy you, he is trying to hit you and I like that about him."

Coach Norv Turner is among his admirers.

"He's a very physical player," Turner said. "He is compact and gets under guys' pads. He got off to a good start."

But he is far from finished.

"I've been an underdog all my life," Tolbert said. "In high school, they said I was undersized to be linebacker and I made All-America. At college they said I was undersized to be a fullback. And now they say I'm undersized to play in the NFL.

"Growing up in a one-parent house, I've been the underdog all my life. I'm going to bust my tail harder than anyone else."

Tolbert said it like his word is as good as a pot of gold -- kind of like Tomlinson's checks.

"It doesn't hurt," Tolbert said, "blocking for the best back in the league."

CAMP CALENDAR: The team breaks training camp Saturday.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: August 18, 2008

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