Cornerback Tay Cody keeps hearing the youngster's names: Sammy Davis and Drayton Florence. He also hears people mention Tony Okanlawon and Kevin House and Jerry Wilson.
The two rookies --- Davis and Florence -- were on the tongues of those tracking the Chargers' draft. The team jumped headfirst into rebuilding its woeful secondary by selecting two cornerbacks in its first two picks, and four defensive backs overall.
It's clear the Chargers are bent on fixing the NFL's worst pass defense in one grand swoop. Just don't clean Cody's name from the first line of the depth chart. If some hotshot rookie is going to come in and win a starting job, he'll have to go through Cody.
"You know me better than that," said Cody, when asked if he's prepared to battle for his position. "After being away for a while, it makes you even hungrier."
Cody got a grand heaping of playing his rookie year, when Alex Molden got injured and the Florida State star was thrust onto the field. He started 11 of the 14 games he played and didn't embarrass himself: 59 tackles, two interceptions and five passes defensed.
But last year was one Cody would just as soon forget. He injured his toe in camp and made it through just four regular-season games before landing on injured reserve.
But now he's back. And now he's showing off his new wedding ring. Now he promises to have focus on every play, something that might have been lacking when so much was given to him so soon.
"Things are different now," he said.
Will his health and reawakening be enough to hold off the new kids in the unit? Will Cody return to his nickel role, or start opposite Quentin Jammer -- his spot is nearly a lock -- when the Chargers trot out on the Arrowhead Stadium field Sept. 7 to kick off the season?
That's to be determined. What isn't a mystery is Cody -- who has THUG tattooed above his heart -- won't surrender this opportunity meekly. He's ready for a fight, after having to throw in the towel so early last year.
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