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Jahleel Addae eyes starting strong safety job on San Diego's defense

SAN DIEGO -- With the opening of training camp for the San Diego Chargers on Thursday, we’ll take a closer look at some of the players involved in key position battles at Chargers Park this week.

We start with strong safety Jahleel Addae.

A third-year pro, Addae was an undrafted rookie free agent picked up by the Chargers in 2013 out of Central Michigan. The Tampa, Florida, native quickly worked his way up the depth chart as a rookie. He established himself as a special teams contributor and was used by defensive coordinator John Pagano in San Diego’s sub packages in passing situations.

Last season, his second, Addae played 393 snaps, finisheing with 48 combined tackles and two forced fumbles. He added a sack, a quarterback hit and four tackles on special teams.

With Marcus Gilchrist signing with the New York Jets in free agency, Addae will get an opportunity to compete for the starting strong safety job with new addition Jimmy Wilson and special teams standout Darrell Stuckey.

"I just stay focused on controlling what I can control, and that’s my effort and how I go about every day in practice," Addae said. "I always practice as if I’m a starter. That’s my mindset. I’m ready to make plays whenever my number is called, and that’s what I’m going to do.

"Obviously being here for the last two years I’ve gained a lot of experience. It’s more just playing now, so there’s not a lot of thinking. When you’re out there playing without thinking, you get to play a lot faster. And that’s a big deal."

Addae said he’s been in town the past three weeks working out with fellow teammates like Keenan Allen and Jason Verrett in preparation for camp. And with an experienced defensive backfield that includes Eric Weddle, Brandon Flowers and Verrett, Addae believes San Diego’s secondary can blossom into one of the best in the NFL.

"They’re all good players who have established themselves in the league," Addae said. "Everyone wants to hold up their end of the bargain. Whatever it is that we’re doing -- whether it’s film work, or competing for who has the most PBU (pass break-ups) or interceptions in camp -- we’re just competing with each other to better ourselves so on Sundays you’ll see the difference."