Dwight Freeney will be reuniting with Peyton Manning in a different way this season.
With the Broncos ultimately dismissing Manning’s effort to get his former Colts teammate to Denver, Freeney will now spend one-eighth of the 2013 season chasing Peyton around.
Freeney officially is a Charger, where he’ll remain a 3-4 linebacker for the second straight year.
“It’s great to add a solid veteran who brings valuable experience to our defense,” said coach Mike McCoy said in a team-issued release. “His proven pass-rush ability is a perfect fit for our defense.”
The term “perfect fit” seems a bit strong, given that Freeney has 10 years in the 4-3 and told PFT Live in February that he wants to return to that alignment. “I’m not sure [Freeney] is well-suited for a 3-4 team,” former Colts coach Tony Dungy told Chris Mortensen of ESPN. “I think Dwight needs play at right end and as a third-down pass rusher.”
Chances are Freeney will essentially do just that, putting his hand in the dirt and taking on the left tackle in passing situations.
He’ll get to do it twice against Ryan Clady, the unsigned lineman who protects Peyton Manning’s blind side. And Freeney will do it against his former team in Indy, along with the other teams he faced every year in the AFC South, starting with the opening Monday night of the season, against the Texans.
He’ll also chase around the quarterbacks of the NFC East (including Peyton’s brother Eli, Tony Romo, Robert Griffin III, and presumably Mike Vick).
In other words, a relatively mundane offseason for the Chargers suddenly has become far more interesting.