Dontrelle Inman is prepared to become a leader among Chargers' receivers

Casey Hayward and Brandon Mebane talk about the growing pains that come with learning a new defense.

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers dropped back Wednesday and rifled a pass. It’s a sight NFL fans are used to — the tall, right-hander slinging the ball on a tight spiral right into a set of hands.

The owner of those hands? He probably wasn't as recognizable.


As the Chargers worked during their second day of veteran minicamp, most of the receivers Chargers fans were accustomed to seeing were on a separate field, undergoing rehabilitation in an effort to return from injuries.

Keenan Allen is working his way back from a knee injury he suffered in the first game of the regular season a year ago. Tyrell Williams, who had a 1,000-yard season in Allen's absence, and Travis Benjamin, who caught nearly 50 passes a year ago, joined him as they recover from unspecified dings.

But the group of receivers on the field all fell in line behind the last regular standing, Dontrelle Inman.

Inman, who signed his restricted free-agency offer Tuesday, took the first reps in most drills as he tries to build on a breakout performance from a year ago.

"Right now, he's the leader out there on offense for the receivers," cornerback Casey Hayward said. "He leads by example and those other guys, they follow."

It's an easy transition for Inman, who said the team's receivers have been groomed to fill in and step up whenever they're needed.

"Regardless if those guys are out or not, everyone in that room has to be a leader. That's just the motto that we have. All of us are leaders," Inman said. "That just helps competition, helps bring other guys up."

Inman doubled the production from his first two seasons in his third, catching 58 balls for 810 yards with an opportunity created by injuries such as Allen's.

"It just shows that you have to be patient. And when your opportunity comes, you have to capitalize on it," Inman said. "That's just a product of this league and how things go. If you work hard and the opportunity is there, you have to capitalize. And, me and Tyrell, we did that."

Inman chuckled when he was asked about how the Chargers' receiving corps will look this season with everyone potentially healthy.

"It's going to be even better," he said. "We're going to feed off one another."

With Allen returning to the field, Williams' emergence, a pair of good tight ends and the possibility of a receiver being added via the draft, there will be more competition for receptions this season.

Still, Inman seems as if he's worked his way into the Chargers' plans.

"He's picking up where he left off," coach Anthony Lynn said. "… I see those guys having similar impacts, even taking it to the next level."



Lynn said he spent last draft sitting in his office and staying out of the decision-making process of the Buffalo Bills. This year, he’ll be in the draft room. “I’m excited,” he said. …The team announced Rivers and former linebacker Shawne Merriman will be among the people announcing the Chargers’ selections during draft weekend.