San Diego Chargers Sign Free Agent Bob Sanders

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2011

Indianapolis Colts defensive back Bob Sanders sets for play  against the Jacksonville Jaguars December 11, 2005 in Jacksonville.  The Colts defeated the Jaguars 26 - 18 to remain undefeated.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

San Diego's first-ranked pass defense in 2010 received a boost on Thursday when the Chargers signed former Indianapolis Colt and free-agent safety Bob Sanders

According to general manager A.J. Smith, the Chargers have always respected Sanders' efforts in Indianapolis and are delighted to see him become a part of Greg Manusky's defense.

"We are all very excited to add Bob Sanders to our defense," Smith said. "We have always held him in high regard. He's a smart, physical, instinctive player. His intensity and playmaking ability can make an immediate impact on our defense."

Prior to being released by the Colts earlier in January, Sanders missed 39 of 48 regular season games since the 2007 season, mainly due to numerous injuries that occurred over the three-year period. 

Still, the added bonus for San Diego is significant, considering Manusky now takes over for former defensive coordinator—and new Carolina Panthers head coach—Ron Rivera.  Clearly, having a unique and hard-hitting safety at his fingertips should help Manusky immensely as time draws on.

"There's no question I'm excited. The fact that Bob was available and excited about being here, and then having it work out, is great," coach Norv Turner said. "Our guys have unbelievable respect for him and what he's done through the years. Certainly he knows what we're capable of doing, so it's a great fit."

And what has Sanders done over the years?

Before going down, 2007 was by far Sanders' brightest year.  He recorded two interceptions and 71 tackles, statistics which earned him the Defensive Player of the Year award.  More importantly, though, Sanders is also a two-time Pro Bowler, and let's not forget, a Super Bowl champion.

San Diego's defense ran rampant in the NFL last season, but failed to earn the team a playoff berth.  The Chargers more or less topped every statistical category, yet at the same time still struggled with some of the AFC's big-time powerhouses.

Sanders' health is questionable, and after nearly three years away from consistent playing time, so is his skill.  Nevertheless, he once earned the reputation as the, "hardest-hitting safety in the NFL", an area where the Chargers have lacked in recent memory.

It may work out, it may not. One could say there is a slight sense of panic from the Chargers' camp as the CBA continues to look hazy, but for now, San Diego's defense has taken one giant step forward, and we haven't even gotten to the draft yet.


Follow Ryan Cook on  Twitter or add him on Facebook. 

Ryan Cook is an Australian Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and a writer for Acme Packing Company. He is also a guest writer for PackerChatters.

Send him an email: