www.baltimoresun.com/sports/kswb-go-chargers-vets-help-rooks-8-17-10,0,276084.story

baltimoresun.com

Chargers vets help rookies to help team

By Troy Hirsch

FOX 5 San Diego Sports

August 17, 2010

SAN DIEGO

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The phrase, "Listen up rook!" gets used a lot during training camp, especially with this group of Chargers. They love to tutor the youngsters.

Even with the first round of cuts looming on August 31, nearly all the veterans seem to freely hand out help and advice to the young guys who may, one day, take their job.

"Whether that's a guy who's trying to take my job or not, that's what we want," defensive end Luis Castillo said. "We want a guy to compete to come in here and try to be the best every day.

"It was done to me when I was young. I was helped out. I'll do the same. I'll pass it forward and I think most guys in this locker room will treat it that way."

"I learned from a lot of great guys in front of me like Donnie Edwards and Randall Godfrey," said linebacker Stephen Cooper. "They taught me a lot of things that I know now. I plan on doing the same things with the young guys coming in. It's about the team. It ain't about me, it ain't about anyone else. It's about us trying to win a Super Bowl and that's what we're trying to accomplish, so we want everyone at their best."

That selfless attitude reflects the Chargers' coaching staff, which believes every player will need to contribute for the Chargers to reach their goals. Head Coach Norv Turner believes those helping hands are one of the strengths of this team.

"We have mature, veteran players," said head coach Norv Turner. "We have players with great confidence who do want to win and so they do go out of their way to help the younger guys."

One of the beneficiaries of that help: rookie defensive tackle Cam Thomas who the Chargers expect to contribute right away.

"I appreciate it a lot because one day I'm going to be in that same predicament," Thomas said. "I'm going to have to help a rook who may possibly take my job so if you're trying to win, you shouldn't look at it like that. You're trying to win. You shouldn't look at it like, he's trying to take my job. You keep winning, you keep eating, basically."

Judging by the size of the 335-pound Thomas, he likes to eat.