Dwight Freeney takes motivation where he finds it

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For new Chargers pass-rusher Dwight Freeney, questions about his age are no different than questions about his size coming out of college.

He’s overcome one perceived obstacle, and he’s ready to start on the other as he begins a new chapter in his career.

“When I came out of college, it was, ‘Dwight, you’re not big enough to play in the National Football League,'” the 6-foot-1 Freeney said, via Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. “‘You’re not big enough to play every down. You’ll be a situational player.’ I used that as my fuel, my motivation to get me through these years.

“Now, it’s, ‘OK, Dwight, you’re done. You’re 33. You’re old. You’re washed up.’ Whatever it is, I’m going to use that as motivation. That’s what you’re supposed to do: find something that motivates you. That’s what I’ll do.”

Freeney practiced for the first time with his new Chargers teammates yesterday, and they’re counting on him to be a big factor this season. When Melvin Ingram went down earlier in OTAs with a torn ACL, the Chargers had a glaring need, and Freeney was there to fill it.

Of course, after spending 11 years in Indianapolis, it’s still unusual to him being in a new locker room full of new faces.

“It’s still strange,” Freeney said. “Not a lot of familiar faces, . . . For the most part, it’s a fresh new start. I had a friend who texted me, ‘It’s like your first day in kindergarten.'”

Of course, he’s still learning how to fit into a 3-4 system as well, and that’s going to be more important than learning a new city, as the Chargers need him to be more productive than the 5.0 sacks he posted for the Colts last year.