Turner burning his way to No. 2

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#GoIrish #Aztecs #SDGulls #Raiders #THFC #RipCity
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA
From: Chargers.com

Playing behind All-Pro running back LaDainian Tomlinson is not the easiest thing in the world. During LT’s first four professional seasons, he has averaged nearly 350 carries a year.

Opportunities don’t come often for the Chargers number two back, but Michael Turner, who is vying to fill that role in 2005, is determined to take advantage of the chances he gets.

“I know my role,” Turner said. “I want the ball on every down, but I also know that LT is the best in the game. I just have to be patient and make the most of it when I get my turn.”

Turner got his chance in last Thursday’s preseason opener at Green Bay. With Tomlinson in street clothes on the sideline, the former Northern Illinois Husky danced to the tune of eight carries for 70. His output led all rushers.

“He had a terrific night Thursday, and he’s run well throughout camp,” Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer said. “He’s a big part of what we’re doing on offense. He’s picked up right where he left off last year.”

In the Chargers’ 2004 season finale, Turner drew his first career start, and like he did Thursday night, the second-year back took advantage of it, rushing 15 times for 87 yards in the Bolts’ win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I spent all offseason hoping that I’d get more opportunities like I did against the Chiefs,” Turner said. “I was glad to get that experience. It really pushed me through the offseason. I knew if I worked hard I would get more chances.”

At season’s end, Turner was listed third on the Chargers depth chart at tailback. But on the opening day of training camp, the Bolts released Jesse Chatman, who held the number two spot a year ago. Chatman’s departure left the door wide open for Turner to step up.

“You hate to lose teammates,” Turner said. “Jesse is a good guy, and I’m going to miss having him around. But that move does tell me that the coaches think a lot of me. It makes me excited about what’s in store.”

At 5-10, 237 pounds, Turner is a big, broad-shoulder back that can provide a nice change
of pace from the tough, lightening-quick Tomlinson.

“I just like to run the football,” Turner said. “I do think I’ve been blessed with the speed to run by people but the strength to run through a guy if I need to. I’ll just do whatever I have to.”

Opportunity has knocked. Turner has answered. He’ll be ready to do so again, even if he has to wait a while.