SAN DIEGO (AP) — Dwight Freeney and Malcom Floyd made welcome returns for the San Diego Chargers on Saturday.
Freeney, an outside linebacker, and Floyd, a wide receiver, missed the majority of last season with injuries.
Their return to contact drills was notable in the first day the Chargers worked in pads.
“It was good and I felt fresh,” said Freeney, 34, who was restricted to four games and a half sack last year after tearing a quadriceps muscle.
“I’m just going to let the coaches gauge where I am. I’m trusting them to tell me when they want me to get in and when they need to pull me because I’m chomping at bit and ready to go.”
Some wondered if Freeney, who has 108 sacks, would return this year. He was cut by the Indianapolis Colts after the 2012 season, one in which had a career-low five sacks while battling an ankle injury.
“I didn’t retire when I was released from Indy because I didn’t want it to end that way,” Freeney said. “I wanted to end it when I said so, not when those guys said I was done.”
But Freeney, who’s entering his 13th season, admitted rebounding from the quad injury was challenging.
“It wasn’t good,” said Freeney, a seven-time Pro Bowler. “When you’re older you’re thinking, `Well, this could have been my last year. Should I come back and grind through the whole rehabilitation process?’
“But I wanted to go out on my terms. I didn’t want to think later, `Shoot, I could have stayed a couple of extra years and got a couple more Super Bowls.”‘
Floyd returned to physical drills for the first time since spraining his neck after making a reception at Philadelphia on Sept. 15. He participated in the team’s offseason workouts, but players don’t wear pads then.
“I was glad to be back out with the guys but I treated it just like any other day,” Floyd said. “I still feel young.”
Floyd didn’t avoid contact, blocking defensive backs when the play required it.
“I had to stick my nose up in there a couple of times,” Floyd said. “I’m just trying to take care of my teammates. I got some cracks in and that was good for me and good for my teammates.”