While the Chargers are excited about Saturday’s preseason game against the Rams, there were other reasons the team was buzzing Thursday.
“It’s like the first day of school,” offensive lineman Kenny Wiggins said.
The doors opened for the first day of class at the Hoag Performance Center, the Chargers’ new home in Costa Mesa, and everyone was excited.
Craig Mager loved the electrical outlets inside each locker. Keenan Allen raved about the murals inside the tub room. Brandon Mebane praised the yoga room. Philip Rivers marveled at the fairway-like grass.
What’s been upgraded?
“Everything’s an upgrade,” Wiggins said. “This is awesome.”
The Chargers’ first practice at their new home took place without an actual 100-yard football field, though the practice space could be configured for one. Instead coach Anthony Lynn and the Chargers decided on two 70-yard fields with room on the side for individual drills.
“You can work one field and when it starts to wear out you can go to the next and give the other a breather,” Lynn said. “…We have all these side fields and I think we can get some work done on those individually so we can save the two main fields. I’ve done this before and it’s worked just fine.”
The new facility and headquarters are converted office spaces — a transformation that didn’t start until January when the team announced its move from San Diego. The Chargers had agreed to lease the space prior to the move.
“It’s a lot of space,” he said. “Every meeting room is about 20% bigger than the ones we had in San Diego. A lot of space, very nice. The technology is really cool. They just did a heck of a job with this building — on such short notice. We talk about competing all the time. Well, this organization is competing. That’s my message to this team.”
It has been heard.
“I love it, I love it … we’re like an NFL team, that’s what it’s about,” cornerback Casey Hayward said before invoking the name of the family that runs the team. “That was the whole point of the Spanos’ moving: They wanted a new stadium, they want to compete, they want everything to look like everyone else, and that’s what this looks like. ...
“You can’t beat it. It looks good. You come here, you want to show up every day and play.”
For some it was like the first day of school. And for others, it was like reporting to a new job. But for Lynn, the day was a little more significant.
“It’s good to be home,” he said.
Back to work
Hayward, who’d been sidelined for the last week because of a hamstring injury, got back on the field on a limited basis.
One of the top cornerbacks in the NFL a season ago, Hayward said he expects to be ready for the season opener if not sooner.
Lynn said that Hayward participated in individual and team drills and was “definitely trending the right way.”
Offensive tackle Tyreek Burwell returned to practice after suffering a broken hand in Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints. …Chris Hairston, who played both right and left tackle against the Saints, impressed Lynn, who said that Hairston’s stock was on the rise. …Wide receiver Dontrelle Inman is still dealing with the fallout from offseason sports hernia surgery. “He’s still struggling with that offseason injury… tearing some scar tissue, getting sore, getting over it, getting back on the field,” Lynn said. “It’s a process.”