Injuries have sidetracked Derwin James‘ career, preventing the former first-round pick from building on his rookie-year All-Pro performance. The standout Chargers safety has played in five games since receiving that acclaim.
The Chargers still picked up James’ fifth-year option, however, and the fourth-year veteran is set to return to work. Brandon Staley said James has received full clearance to participate in workouts, via NFL.com’s Omar Ruiz (on Twitter). James suffered a torn meniscus during Bolts training camp last year, sidelining him for the entire 2020 season.
In 2019, a foot injury sidelined James for 11 games. The Florida State alum played 16 games as a rookie, delivering one of the best seasons by a first-year defender in NFL history. That helped the Chargers to a 12-4 record. The team has gone through some changes since, the Staley hire chief among them.
The Bolts entered last summer with four first- or second-team All-Pros in their secondary, but the group did not spend too much time playing together. Los Angeles lost Chris Harris for a chunk of last season, and Desmond King was traded ahead of the October deadline. Casey Hayward is now out of the picture as well. The Chargers, however, are on the verge of having the centerpiece of their secondary back at work. That should aid Staley’s effort to recharge the Bolts’ defense considerably.
James recorded 105 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three interceptions and tallied 13 passes defensed in 2018. The Chargers have been waiting for him to return to form for a while now. While the wait continues, James is back in position to contribute on the field.
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