Chargers Undrafted Interview: Ruvell Martin

When you have size, a vertical jump that gives you an advantage and stats to back it up, it is a mystery when you go undrafted. But that does not mean there is no opportunity to succeed and if you are a receiver with height and some talent, San Diego Chargers wide receivers Coach James Lofton is plenty interested. If you are Ruvell Martin from Saginaw Valley State, the interest is magnified.

Two weeks prior to the 2004 NFL Draft, the phones were ringing. It was the Chargers expressing interest to the agent for Ruvell Martin. They continued to touch base and show they wanted to bring Martin to San Diego.

There was, however, no indication that the Bolts would draft the 6-foot-4 wideout from Saginaw Valley State.

And when the draft ended, Martin remained on the open market. He wasn't disappointed. He had a plan that only required a chance.

"I wasn't disappointed at all," Martin confirmed. "My mentality has always been going in was that I really wanted a shot. Free agency or getting drafted, I just wanted my foot in the door."

And the door opened shortly after the draft. Martin signed on with the team that not only expressed interest, but has some spots that are wide open.

A chance.

"They showed quite a bit of interest," Martin said excitedly. "They had been calling my agents and coaches for probably two weeks prior to the draft. My agent sat down and thought it out – who they drafted and they took one wideout, but it was pretty much known that they were going to move (Ryan Krause) to tight end and other than that they didn't draft any wideouts. He had been telling me ever since he was talking to Coach Lofton, San Diego was a good place for me from a wideout standpoint. I trusted the information he was giving me."

And it was good advice. The Chargers current crop of returning receivers lacks a backend receiver with upside. Someone who can grow with the team and blossom. The closest they have to that type of player is Kassim Osgood and he may be in for an expanded role in the offense in year two.

There is Tim Dwight whose health may catch up to him, Eric Parker who is an emerging talent when healthy and Reche Caldwell, the wide open enigma with hands of stone come gametime.

The phone call came and it was James Lofton on the other end of the line.

"I talked to (Coach Lofton) for a little bit," Martin said with pride. "He congratulated me and he asked me – I am at Saginaw Valley, a small Division II school – ‘so was it more exciting signing with Saginaw Valley or for the Chargers.'

"I think it was a little more exciting signing with the Chargers.

"He just loves me and said, ‘let's get ready to get down to business.' I can't wait."

Martin has gotten just a small sampling of NFL life this weekend in rookie orientation camp. Meetings and practices that are more designed to incorporate what the offensive plan is have filled his days. His "time off" will be filled with memorization. He has to learn the Chargers offense and next time he comes to San Diego the only playbook he will carry around will be in his head.

There will be competition from the veterans he met Friday morning and from the incoming frosh. Martin was just looking for a chance. Now that chance has turned into an opportunity. The finish line, the only one that matters, is on seeing his name dotted on the NFL roster at the end of training camp.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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