Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett is “happy” with where he is heading into 2017. He’s also “hungry” — very hungry — after two years of injuries.
“I think it’s going to be a little bit more juice, just dealing with the fact that I lost two seasons,” Verrett told Hayley Elwood of the team website. “I’m hungry. I’m going to grind. I’m going to grind, grind, grind. They’re going to see the Pro Bowl player they saw in 2015.”
The former first-round pick made the Pro Bowl his second season as one of the best cornerbacks in the league that season. But Verrett played only 11 games combined the other three seasons.
He partially tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a Week 4 game in 2016 and needed more surgery on the same knee last season. Verrett made it through only 63 snaps in the season opener last year.
“Going into last season, in training camp, it was tough for me,” Verrett said. “I was hoping for a breakthrough. I was hoping for the scar tissue to break up. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Coming in Week 1, I knew mentally I wasn’t ready. I knew physically I wasn’t ready. I just was trying to go out there with the competitive mind set that I have.
“I felt the surgery was needed. It was tough having to get another surgery and dealing with all of that, but it was needed.”
The Chargers return last year’s starters, Trevor Williams and Casey Hayward, along with slot corner Desmond King. They also have Michael Davis, Craig Mager and Jeff Richards, all of whom were either on the active roster or the practice squad last season.
Verrett, though, will start if he’s healthy.
“We can be real special,” Verrett said. “I know it’s a tough for the coaches to make a decision on who’s going to go out there, just because of how deep we are. But I think just how tight we are as a group, it’s going to allow us to keep feeding off each other. Everyone’s going be wanting to get better each and every day because you know the guys behind you are going to want to be where you are.”