COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Brandon Mebane will play against the team that gave him his first NFL opportunity -- and with whom he won a Super Bowl -- on Sunday when the Los Angeles Chargers face the Seattle Seahawks at the StubHub Center in the preseason opener for both teams.
"It's a football game," Mebane said. "I'm not hyped or putting too much on it. It will be good to see a lot of the dudes I haven't seen in a while. So it will be interesting to play against them."
Mebane was selected No. 85 overall in the second round of the 2007 draft by the Seahawks. He went on to play nine seasons for Seattle, winning a Super Bowl at the conclusion of the 2013 season.
But Mebane signed with the Chargers as a free agent during the offseason in 2016. With the team in need of a consistent run-stuffer up front, Mebane helped shore up a porous Chargers run defense and has become one of the team's foundational players.
Before Mebane's arrival, the Chargers gave up 4.81 yards per carry in 2015, third worst in the league. But last year the Chargers allowed just 3.82 yards per carry, good for No. 7 in the NFL.
With the franchise relocating from San Diego to Los Angeles, the signing proved to be a homecoming for the L.A. native who played at Crenshaw High.
"I didn't think L.A. would have any [NFL] team, to be honest with you," Mebane said with a chuckle. "The only team I thought they would have was UCLA and USC, as far as football."
Mebane probably will only play a series or two against his former team and said he has no animosity toward the Seahawks. Mebane had contract offers from Seattle and the Chargers in free agency but ultimately decided to make a fresh start and move closer to friends and family by signing with the Chargers.
He is in the second year of a three-year, $13.5 million deal, $5.5 million of which is guaranteed.
"It's nothing personal, and I don't feel like I have to prove anything," Mebane said. "A lot of people don't know, but when I left, I left because I wanted to leave. I could have went back. It wasn't because they didn't want me anymore. I left because I wanted to leave."
Mebane is joined by defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, left tackle Russell Okung, linebacker Korey Toomer, tight end Sean McGrath and cornerback Trovon Reed as Chargers who have ties with the Seahawks.
Bradley, who joined the Chargers this year after being let go as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, said Mebane has emerged as a team leader.
"He was a very strong leader in Seattle, but he's a strong leader throughout the whole team here," Bradley said about Mebane. "Defensively, he had such an impact, but here you see offensive players talk to him. ... He elevates everyone around him. I just can't say enough good things about what Brandon Mebane means to this team."