Running back stable is full

The stable of running backs appears to be swelling beyond what the balloon can hold. Any minute, the expanding will cause it to pop. Several running backs are even in NFL Europe. So how does an undrafted free agent like Ray Perkins even fit into the mold?

Surprisingly, the running back out of Southeast Louisiana believes there is a spot for him on the team.

"I think that'll be a good fit for me," Perkins said. "I see what they do a lot with LaDainian when they throw the ball, and he catches the ball and also can run.

"By coming to a team with a great running back, I can learn a lot from him. That's one of the main things I want to do is learn from a pro player, a great player."

In the interest of being responsible the list of running backs on the roster includes LaDainian Tomlinson, Jesse Chatman, Michael Turner and Darren Sproles. Ahmaad Galloway and Calvin Murray are two backs playing in NFL Europe.

Safe to say the chances are slim for any back entering Chargers' camp. And the competition will be fierce with so many spots already wrapped up.

Ray Perkins has his work cut out for him.

"I've been competitive all my life so that's nothing I'm worried about," said Perkins. "I know LaDainian is the featured guy and he's the number one. I'm not thinking I'm gonna come in there and take his spot, but I am coming in to compete and make the team and be part of the team."

The biggest benefit Perkins sees is the showcase the Chargers employ via versatility with their running backs. Besides being able to run the ball, backs are expected to catch the ball out of the backfield and show an ability to pick up the blitz.

That kind of offense suits Perkins just fine. He also knows the Chargers have been looking for a returner, a role he has played during his college career.

"I think that helps me because I can catch and I can also run, and return," Perkins said. "I just feel they do that with their backs. LaDainian has a lot of catches and he can also run. I think that probably helps me out a little bit more, being that I can catch."

There are no preconceived notions here.

Making the San Diego Chargers, once much more than just a mere possibility for many undrafted free agents, has become a difficult proposition. It used to be a forgone conclusion that undrafted free agents would be in the starting lineup. That is no longer the case and the 53-man roster has few holes, with the eight-man practice squad a dogfight.

Perkins understands Mt. Everest stands before him. He is a willing participant.

"I feel like I haven't even made it yet," Perkins said. "I still have to make the team and I still gotta be hungry for it. It's like coming out of high school and going to college; you gotta earn your way into the system, you gotta earn your way into the team. You got to be hungry for it."

Perkins made it through rookie orientation but that was just the setting of the utensils. The next step is an appetizer before the main course in July. Being around for a second helping will be a monumental task.


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