The Los Angeles Chargers will have a new man in the middle of their defense when next season kicks off, and he’s a familiar face to longtime L.A. football fans.
The team announced Tuesday that it had agreed to a contract with former Minnesota Vikings All-Pro linebacker Eric Kendricks.
Kendricks, 31, was drafted by Minnesota out of UCLA in the second-round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He’s totaled more than 100 tackles each of the last seven seasons in the NFL and was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2019.
His greatest accolade, however, may be his durability. Since being drafted, the Fresno County native has started 113 of a possible 117 regular season games and has started all six of his career postseasons appearances.
Kendricks starred at UCLA and led the nation in tackles his senior year en route to being named the first Bruin to win the Butkus Award, which is given to the nation’s best linebacker.
He announced his plans to sign with the Chargers in an Instagram post which featured highlights of his UCLA career with the caption, “Back in LA .. Bolt Up!”
Kendricks joins a stacked linebacking corps in Los Angeles, headlined by multi-time Pro Bowl selections Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack
Kendricks is likely to slot in the middle linebacker position next to Drue Tranquill, who led the team in combined tackles last season. Kendricks’ 137 combined tackles last season would have put him second in total tackles for the AFC West runner-ups.
The Chargers finished the 2022-23 campaign with a record of 10-7 and a loss in the AFC Wildcard Round of the NFL Playoffs.
The team also has re-signed right tackle Trey Pipkins III, released left guard Matt Feiler and have granted permission to Pro Bowl running back Austin Ekeler to seek a trade, according to ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry.