Jay Paris: Chargers are gone, but they are still here

Everywhere one looks, there’s Chargers news.

The NFL draft arrived on Thursday, with some lucky players getting to start their careers with the last-place Chargers.

The NFL schedule came out as well, and what fortunate teams get to the play the last-place Chargers?

Or is there another way to look at it?

Do we welcome the new Bolts with open arms? Of course that’s something the team certainly hasn’t done with its most ardent fans since announcing its move to La La Land.

And do we review the fresh slate of NFL games with glee, with the Chargers’ home affairs being played in Carson.

It’s a mixed bag and get used to what following the NFL is like in a jilted region.

I’ve got several friends that once waved their Chargers flags with conviction and passion.

One still does and he shrugs about the Chargers fleeing. Being a North County resident he told me making the trek to the StubHub Center isn’t that daunting. He joked that he can get there quicker by leaving early on Sunday morning than he can reach Mission Valley on Sunday afternoon.

Maybe he was kidding, but he’s going to find out.

“They are still my team,’’ he said. “I’m not going to give (Dean) Spanos the satisfaction of ripping away something that I enjoy. Plus Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates are still Chargers, right? I can’t turn my back on them.’’

Another one of my colleagues has a Chargers tattoo, but he’s done with the team that has basically disappointed him his entire life. Instead of seeking ways to reach Carson, he’s eager to get his body art removed.

So one has a laser focus on the season ahead.

The other seeks a laser to erase his devotion to an organization that neglected to return that same sincerity in kind.

The NFL draft was held after our deadline, so we can’t offer much on what the Chargers did or didn’t do. But put us down for them drafting a safety, with either LSU’s Jamal Adams or Ohio State’s Malik Hooker getting the call from Chargers Park.

Then again, the team could find Rivers another target as it tries to ignite some traction in the City of the Angels. The devil is always in the details, but how could one argue drafting lanky Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams?

What we can say, looking at the recent history with Joey Bosa, is that no matter which prospect the Chargers draft, they will likely drag their feet in signing him.

Still, it’s hands in the air for those celebrating the Los Angeles Chargers dates. It’s a schedule that shares three game days in L.A. with the Rams, which means Southern California drivers will channel the Chargers’ slogan.

But instead of “Fight for L.A.” it will be “Fight Through L.A. Traffic.”

The Chargers open Sept. 11 at Denver on “Monday Night Football,” then it’s a three-game run in the shadow of the flickering oil refineries. Miami, Kansas City and Philadelphia make visits to the venue hard off the 405 freeway.

“It’s a heck of a schedule,’’ Rivers said. “That three-week stretch at the StubHub Center can be a heck of a way for us to get fans excited and get us off to a good start.’’

For many, their love for the Chargers reached the finish line.

For others, it’s still their squad and the one they grew up on.

And for those pining for the Chargers to still be in San Diego, there’s a game for you.

On Thanksgiving, the Chargers will play at Dallas. If there’s a wishbone available at your dinner table, have at it.

Contact Jay Paris at jparis8@aol.com. Read his book, “Game of My Life Chargers,” which is available at amazon.com. 

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