Chargers added a slice of Veal

Nose tackles are the toughest of the tough. They tread the line that no one else dares enter and ward off hulking warriors looking to block the massive man in the middle so their running backs can see some daylight. Enter Ken Veal, a massive nose tackle that signed as an undrafted free agent with the San Diego Chargers. <br><br> Funny thing is, off the field he is a jovial gentleman who loves life.

Describing Ken Veal as energetic is an understatement. "Big Pooh", as he is called by his teammates, friends and family, is looking forward to the next challenge.

"Somebody has to be up tempo out there every day," said Veal.

You wouldn't expect that from a guy who can bench press a small building.

"I was the second strongest guy on the Georgia team to Ben Watson," Veal says smiling. "He beat me by five pounds in the bench press, 560 to 565."

As one of the "magnificent seven", a designation given to the seven best players in the state of Georgia coming out of high school, Veal stayed closed to home. A Cedartown, Georgia native, Veal went to play for the Bulldogs of Georgia.

Perhaps it was his family that kept him near as he majored in Child and Family Development, or it could have been the chance to play for a team on the rise to National prominence, the same way he had during his high school days.

Veal went to Georgia with visions of grandeur. Eating up centers and guards so his teammates could make plays.

A college career never quite lived up to his standards as injuries limited his play. He ended up starting 19 games for the Bulldogs over his career.

But, when healthy, Veal turns off the personality many will see on the practice field and becomes the man who stacks the line and forces opposing offensive linemen to take notice of him. At 6-1, 310 pounds, his center of gravity is low enough to drive opponents into the backfield. Therefore, like any good nose tackle, he commands double teams.

"They are going to have to double team me," Veal says with a grin and a shrug. "I feel like if I am not getting double teamed every play I am not doing my job. I am going to make them put two guys on me."

During his Georgia career he posted 104 tackles. It was not about how many throw downs Veal could make. The selfless player was more than happy to watch others make the big plays while he preoccupied the line.

"(Getting double teamed) contributes a lot to the linebackers making a lot of plays. I have never been the most flashy guy trying to make a lot of plays. I just play my role in trying to help the defense."

And that role is now in San Diego.

"I am just happy to be a Charger," said Veal.

For a man who has centered his life around family, coming cross-country seemed odd. But when the story is told there is a common theme – loyalty.

If you want to find the way to Veal, it is through loyalty. Just like he leaves his all on the football field for the team, life off the field is much the same. Expect what you give.

"First of all San Diego flew me there and showed me the facilities and told me what was going on," Veal said in earnest. "They seemed like they wanted me. Other teams in the NFL didn't call as much or keep informed as much as San Diego.

"It is a privilege just to be a Charger."

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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