Like father, like son

Rookies that come into San Diego Chargers camp generally are in the dark about how this new experience will be. They go through the first week on egg shells as they learn the nuances, aka yelling, of their coaches and how to act throughout the week. It is similar to the first day at a new job when you try to feel your way through the acceptable policies. There are those rare opportunities where someone has preceded you into the fraternity, ala Robert Pollard.

For those that have pledged behind a sibling, the memory is all too familiar. You get it worse than anyone else, but there is an underlying respect that is associated with your name. When the key people talk in private, they do so with a sense of pride.

"He takes his licks," they say.

That is the fate of Robert Pollard, a defensive end with the Chargers. Not only does he come from TCU, the school that brought LaDainian Tomlinson, but his father played in the NFL.

Bob Pollard was a fullback that played 11 years in the NFL for the St. Louis Cardinals and New Orleans Saints.

Family members of former players may have it tougher in camp, but the pedigree often translates to the field. Being around the game for as long as Pollard has is something most only dream of. He has been able to pick the brain of countless people who have been there and done that before.

His father, of course, heads that list.

"Over the years since I started football when I was younger he has given me plenty of tips and things to do to improve my game," Pollard explains with pride. "I would ask him questions on how to handle certain situations and he would tell me something. Even the little things like that he has helped me with all the way to how everything goes in college, college recruiting on up to the draft."

Pollard started in 26 of 47 games for the Horned Frogs, recording 180 tackles (101 solos) with 12½ sacks for minus-73 yards, 39½ stops for losses of 142 yards, 22 quarterback pressures, four fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and two pass deflections.

With all the backing by his father, he still went undrafted. But that has not stopped the younger Pollard from calling his dad to get advice.

"He has been there to give me advice and tell me how things work," Pollard said. "He has been helpful."

Now that Pollard is working out with the Chargers at their facility, he has essentially graduated. There is little advice that the senior Pollard can give his son besides being respectful and doing what the coaches say.

It is up to Robert Pollard to do the rest by placing his talent to the forefront and proving he belongs at this level.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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