Los Angeles Chargers first-round pick Derwin James said he felt “100 percent” during his first training camp practice on Thursday after being activated off the non-football injury list.
James, who turns 22 Friday, told reporters that he injured his hamstring a week before camp opened while training on his own. The safety missed four days of practices before making his camp debut.
“Feels great to be back out here playing football,” James said. “I feel like I was ready Monday, but it’s an ongoing process. You never know with those soft-tissue injuries. I know (the team) got my back, they only want what’s best for me.”
Head coach Anthony Lynn said James probably could have returned earlier, but the team wanted to take it slow. James took about two-thirds of his normal reps on Thursday.
“He looked comfortable,” Lynn said. “This is one of those situations where we don’t want something to linger so we’re being overly cautious. ...
“He’s a good looking safety. It’s just good to see him back out there because he had such a good offseason and just a minor setback at the end.”
James also confirmed to reporters that he was robbed at gunpoint in Hollywood two months ago, an incident in which he was unharmed.
TMZ reported in July that James and his uncle were approached by two men with guns while leaving a restaurant on June 23. The report said the men robbed James of a neck chain and Rolex watch before leaving, and James tried to pursue in his Rolls Royce but couldn’t because three of his tires were slashed.
“I wouldn’t wish that upon anybody,” James said about the incident, adding he told the team after it occurred. “It happened. It was just one of those things that you never expect to happen to you, but it happened, and I’m just happy to be out here playing football.”
James is expected to start immediately while playing a variety of roles in coordinator Gus Bradley’s Cover-3-heavy defense.
The Chargers took James 17th overall in April’s draft after he racked up 84 tackles (5.5 for loss), two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and 11 passes defensed in his final year at Florida State.
—Field Level Media