Damion McIntosh: This year is different than any year I've ever had out of all nine years. It's my first time playing right tackle -- ever. It was a challenge that I looked forward to as something to help out my team. This year, I've been doing better as the year has progressed. I'm getting more and more adapted to the right side and I'm able to play a lot more aggressive over there.
OT Damion McIntosh
DM: He's a guy that's come in and has tremendous skill to play the position, even though he never played it in college. You can tell he's able to withstand being a left tackle and athletic enough to compete against the best defensive ends on some teams. He's caught on really well. He has a great vet next to him in Brian Waters in order to help him throughout the game and during practice to work on the little things and become even better. He's done a very good job. He's a young guy who has his head on straight. He listens, which is huge for a young guy to do, to listen and apply it during game time. I think he is a very good addition to what we have going on here.
ML: As a Kansas City Chief, you get to face the Bolts a couple of times each season, including last week. How different is their defense without Shawne Merriman?
DM: Shawne Merriman is most definitely one of the better players they have on the defensive side. He's a very tough, very physical guy. The guys they have now on the edges are speed guys; they're not, I don't think, as physical as he is. [Merriman] brings a lot of energy, I feel, for that defense.
Their defense is very good still. They have a lot of good players and a lot of guys who I have played with who are very good players and who play their roles very well, like Jamal Williams. I've got a lot of respect for those guys. I look forward to competing against those guys after competing against them plenty of times being on the opposing team, either when I was in Miami or here in Kansas City.
OT Damion McIntosh
DM: Of course, he was always a special player once he set foot there in San Diego. He came in and worked hard and his mentality was always towards his teammates. That's the way he is and that's the way he carries himself. It's not about him, it's about his team. It's been like that since Day 1 and I still see it in him. He's a great person and he's a great player. He's explosive, he can make a huge difference in the game and he is a game-breaker. He was that way as a rookie and he has been all the way up to now. He never carries himself as a superstar, as far as I know, personally, but [he carries himself] as a teammate and a very good one at that.
ML: Another member of the Chargers organization you have history with is Norv Turner, who was your offensive coordinator in 2001. What are your thoughts on him?
DM: Norv was a great coordinator and a great coach. His offense is always proven. I feel he has plenty of experience being a head coach with other teams, be it Oakland or Washington, and he's doing very well in San Diego. I feel he deserves to be mentioned as one of the better head coaches in the league.
ML: Is there any one else from your time in San Diego that you stay in touch with?
OT Damion McIntosh
There are a couple guys on the team who I've known. I know Kris Dielman. He was a converted defensive lineman at the time and he was just learning guard and was brand new to it before I left. Stephen Cooper, he was on the practice squad, he was one of the young pups that was around when I left. There are a couple other ones, Jacques Cesaire, he was young. There are a lot of young ones who are now key players on that team. I'm glad they're doing well.
ML: Now focusing on some players you're familiar with from your time in Kansas City, TE Kris Wilson and RB Michael Bennett, both of whom are now with the Chargers. What can you tell us about these guys?
DM: I haven't really seen Kris Wilson go on the field and do anything right now, so I don't really know about him. I know Mike B. He is a great personality to have in the locker room. He's going to work hard and come in and play his role. He's coming in from Tampa Bay and he used to be with us here, so he's a great guy to have and good alternate running back to have to create more depth. He has a lot of experience, also, and he's been the starting running back in Minnesota. I think he'll fit in well with [the Chargers'] system.
ML: You're now with your third NFL team and in your ninth season as a professional. What have you learned along the way and how different a player are you now, as opposed to when you were drafted by the Chargers?
DM: When I first came in, San Diego gave me the opportunity to play at this level, and I am very gracious for that. I learned how to play left tackle, I started my second year and I've never looked back since. I was able to branch out and play for my own home team -- I'm from South Florida and I played a few years there for the Dolphins. Now, I'm here in Kansas City in an area where my college team (Kansas State) is nearby and I'm able to play in front of people I've known before who supported me during my college days. I have a great supporting cast out here with K-State.
OT Damion McIntosh
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty
DM: When I first got to San Diego, I remember talking with Rogers about just having the opportunity to play. They always tell you that the life expectancy of an NFL player is about four years. You don't really bank on saying, "Oh, I can play 10 or 20 years." You take it day by day and get a feel for things.
Your rookie year is the hardest because they are always on top of you and they want you to learn. They say that if the coaches are yelling at you it's because they care, but they were on top of me a lot. But it helped me out a lot. Coach Joe Bugel was my first O-line coach and he taught me a lot of stuff.
Just going through year by year has been a different experience and it's been a blessing to reach 100 (starts) and going past it. A lot of guys don't get this opportunity to make it to nine years or 10 years. I'm very happy that I made it to this point. I'll see how long I can continue to compete at a high level and contribute to my team and try to help the team get to the championship. That's my final goal, to help a team get to the end and get a championship under my belt.
ML: Speaking of championships, what does your team in Kansas City need to do to rebuild the Chiefs into a contender in the AFC West?
DM: We're getting closer as a young team. It's just getting to confidence to say, "You know what? We have weapons," and then apply our will onto other teams. We have to know we can pull through games and finish off these teams when we start off hot but don't end up finishing things off. We need to go ahead and grow with our seven remaining games, finish off strong and try to win out. If we win out, we'll put ourselves in a good position. Whether it's the remainder of this year or carrying over to next year, we want to show that we're a very good team and we've gotten more experienced in key positions that are filled with young players.
The things I went through in my second year in the league -- and I learned a lot more moving from my second to third year -- a lot of these young players are experiencing that now as rookies. I'm happy for them. A lot of guys don't get that opportunity.
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.