Trent Scott becomes 11th Charger to make NFL debut this season, and his playing time might increase
At Grambling State, he did not allow a sack during his entire senior season.
In the NFL, he allowed one in his first five seconds.
Yes, there are more welcoming assignments for a player making his professional debut than trying to block Ndamukong Suh.
“We broke the huddle and I guess he was looking for the rookie,” Chargers offensive tackle Trent Scott said. “He came over there and lined up right in front of me. I was like, ‘Oh, man, this is going to be interesting.’ ”
Suh rushed at Scott, created space by thrusting his right hand into Scott’s neck and then engulfed Philip Rivers as the Chargers quarterback stepped up into the remains of a disintegrating pocket.
History will remember the play as Suh’s first sack as a Ram. Scott will remember it as something more much profound than that: the moment he officially became an NFL player, with an epically blown assignment to prove it.
“I guess that’s just part of the story now,” Scott said, smiling. “That’s one I’ll always be able to tell.”
He is one of 11 players who has made his NFL debut this season with the Chargers.
The group includes first-round pick and growing sensation Derwin James, who already had been compared to Sean Taylor, Kam Chancellor and Troy Polamalu before Jon Gruden added Ronnie Lott and Rodney Harrison on Wednesday.
“He’s an intimidating player,” said Gruden, whose Oakland Raiders face the Chargers on Sunday. “He can run through you. He can run around you. He can run right over you. He’s a dynamite young player.”
The group also includes JJ Jones, a kick returner who marked his first game by fumbling away a punt leading directly to a Kansas City touchdown on a day when the Chargers bitterly lost.
The list of potential outcomes for an NFL debut must be 100 yards long, while the range of emotions involved stretches at least the width of the field.
“I’ll always remember the feeling, the bounce,” said cornerback Brandon Facyson, who debuted on special teams in Week 2 at Buffalo. “There was extreme energy. It’s something you don’t feel too often in your lifetime.”
Scott’s first appearance arrived as a blur. He was suddenly forced into the game when veteran Russell Okung went down with an injury.
He was trotting onto the field at the Coliseum for his first action in a real game since mid-December — when Grambling State lost the Celebration Bowl to North Carolina A&T.
Matching up against Suh on an NFL Sunday represented a long journey completed at blinding speed for a player who began the season on the practice squad before being promoted for Week 2.
“It meant everything to me,” Scott said. “Coming where I came from … I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. It was exciting to get out there, to touch the field and actually play.”
His debut was finished as abruptly as it started, Okung missing two snaps before returning.
But on Sunday, Okung was injured again — this time late in the second quarter — and Scott played the entire second half at right tackle in the Chargers’ 29-27 victory over San Francisco.
If Okung is unable to play this weekend, Scott likely will get his first NFL start. Coach Anthony Lynn said Wednesday that Okung will “probably be a game-time decision.”
“Going into the huddle for that first play felt way different than it did against the Rams,” Scott said about playing against the 49ers. “It was more like, ‘Let’s handle your business and do your job.’ I just felt good. I was just playing ball.”
He also was rid of Suh, who already had picked up his second sack with the Rams in a Thursday night win over Minnesota.
Scott was free to challenge himself against players not known for being among the finest of their generation, free to continue rebounding from the rocky five seconds that opened his career.
“Every day I wake up and thank God for just being here,” he said. “It’s a dream to come in this building and have a job playing for the L.A. Chargers. I just love that.”
In signing veteran punter Donnie Jones, the Chargers reunited struggling kicker Caleb Sturgis with his former holder.
Jones and Sturgis played together from 2015-17 with Philadelphia. During his time with the Eagles, Sturgis made 56 of 66 field-goal attempts and was 66 for 70 on extra points.
Punter Drew Kaser, the Chargers’ former holder, was waived Tuesday. Sturgis has missed three extra points and two field goals this season.
“Sometimes, it’s just the chemistry between the two guys,” Lynn said. “Drew is an outstanding punter. It was a hard cut. If you look at the big picture, his job is also to hold. We just wanted to change the whole dynamics right there … and see if we can make an extra point.”
Okung (groin), wide receiver Travis Benjamin (foot) and right tackle Joe Barksdale (knee) did not practice Wednesday. Lynn said Barksdale likely would not play against the Raiders.
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