"I was a little nervous going in about my ankle," said Kris Dielman. "I wasn't worried about whether I could do the job -- I was confident I could do my thing. But I was worried about my ankle giving out on me. I didn't know if it could hold up five practices in a row.
"The ankle held up exceptionally well," Dielman said. "I would say things went pretty good for me. I talked to some coaches before I left and got some pretty good feedback from them. I knew if I was healthy, I'd be OK, but I was worried about my ankle. But I put my ankle through hell and back and everything is fine."
Playing as a defensive lineman for the first time in his career as a senior, Dielman posted 55 tackles with 14 tackles for loss and 5 sacks. Dielman spent the rest of his time playing tight end. At 6-3, 285 he is a little small for the prototypical defensive tackle but has shown flashes that earned him a chance with the Chargers.
"You just put your helmet on and go do your thing," Dielman said. "I've got some bumps and bruises I haven't seen in a long time. You can certainly tell the speed of the game from college to the NFL is different. There were some guys who were freaking moving. And the first thing you notice when you go out there is 'Holy cow, there are some big freaking guys out there.' "
Dielman played college ball at Indiana where he built a reputation built on intensity and a non-stop motor. He will be wearing No. 95 in the NFL and he hopes to be wearing it come fall.
"I didn't care what number I was -- just give me a freaking jersey and let me go out there and bust some heads," he said. "That's all I need."
Dielman arrived in San Diego last Thursday and went through the weekend orientation which included one day of practicing with the veterans and the rest of the weekend spent "rookies only".
"They didn't talk to us," Dielman said of the veterans. "They know why we are there. We're there to take their jobs. That's fine by me. I didn't go out there to make any friends. I went out there to get a job. I don't really care whether they like me or not.
That attitude and commitment to making it has earned him some early stripes.
"Sure, it's kind of weird seeing some of them at first, but once you start practicing, it's football. All you care about doing is going out there and beating on them."
The next time he comes to San Diego he hopes to find out a little more about the city. Most of all he is hoping to call San Diego home.
"I have to report by May 18 for organized coaching sessions," Dielman said. "I have some family out there and have seen a little bit of the city. I don't know my way around yet -- it's a pretty big freaking city. But I'll get it all figured out."
Dielman Camping Out
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