Patterson on Cody McCarty: "Soft Hands"

You'll have to forgive Cody McCarty for his anonymity. It's not easy to garner attention as the tight end receiving reps behind Antonio Gates; nor is it easy to standout as an undrafted free agent on a roster as loaded as the one the Chargers presently possess. You'll also have to forgive him if he refuses to be just a body in camp, because this quiet player is determined to make some noise.

Perhaps the reason McCarty's name is not a household one as of yet is because he plays the game the right way.

He doesn't flap his arms and flex his muscles when he scores a touchdown; he has too much class for that. And he has never had any gun charges brought against him, something that has become almost trendy nowadays.

According to Gary Patterson, McCarty's coach at Texas Christian University, Cody McCarty is the kind of player the character-conscious Chargers are looking for.

"He's not a guy that'll embarrass the team by any means," Patterson said, "He'll just do his work and go home."

When he goes home, McCarty spends his time with his wife and daughter. His maturity level is well beyond what is expected of a 23-year-old athlete. He is a class act off of the field, and a solid contributor on it.

This former quarterback and defensive end finished his senior season with 17 catches for 321 yards (for an impressive 18.9 yard average) and two touchdowns. Not gaudy numbers by any means, but the statistics don't tell the whole story. He also improved greatly as a blocker last season, something Patterson believes he will have to continue to do if he hopes to make the Chargers roster.

"He's going to have to turn up the intensity knob," Patterson said, later adding that McCarty "can become a physical player. He has good size and strength, so he has the capabilities to do that."

McCarty has the potential to excel at more than just blocking. He played extensively on special teams during his career at TCU, which is where he will have to initially earn his keep should he make the squad. Also, he showed the ability to develop into an excellent intermediary receiver.

"His soft hands are probably his best attribute," noted Patterson.

Another thing McCarty has going for him is that there are several other noteworthy Horned Frogs currently littering the Chargers roster. There is fellow rookie Chase Johnson, defensive end Robert Pollard and some guy named Tomlinson.

"I would think it would help them," said Patterson of the camaraderie shared by his former pupils turned Chargers.

Patterson noted that these players return to campus to visit and work out regularly. There is a bond that they seem to share. Perhaps, if the Chargers are lucky, McCarty will prove any doubters wrong and make the team, and allow this fraternity of TCU alums to relocate to San Diego.

The TCU connection may never be to the Chargers what the University of Miami connection is to the Redskins, and thank heaven for that. When it comes to a player like McCarty, expect him to make his noise on the field.

Michael Lombardo can be reach at

SD Super Chargers Top Stories