C Matt Slauson brings toughness, grit to Chargers' O-line

SAN DIEGO -- Philip Rivers could tell the first week he worked with new center Matt Slauson that he would be a good fit for the San Diego Chargers.

Rivers said that Slauson’s demeanor reminded him of other cornerstone offensive linemen who have been with the San Diego Chargers over the years like Nick Hardwick, Kris Dielman and Jeromey Clary because of his toughness and grit.

“He seems like a guy that loves ball, and you want that first,” Rivers said. “And he’s kind of a no-nonsense guy when it comes to work.”

Slauson actually was recruited by fellow Nebraska native Danny Woodhead to join the Chargers. The two already knew each other from when Slauson played at Nebraska and Woodhead played at small school Chadron state in North Platte, Neb.

Slauson and Woodhead were then teammates with the New York Jets in the NFL. In this interview with Judson Richards of Xtra 1360 Fox Sport Radio, Slauson said Woodhead reached out to him the day after he was released by the Chicago Bears.

Also, check out Part II of Richards’ conversation with Slauson here. Both are worth your time today.

“He was already giving me the pitch, telling me what an amazing place this is and giving me the scoop on a lot of guys here,” said Slauson, who also played with backup quarterback Kellen Clemons with the Jets.

With centers Trevor Robinson, Chris Watt and Max Tuerk rehabbing injuries, the Chargers needed a healthy Slauson to man the center position during offseason work.

“He cares,” Woodhead said about Slauson. “He loves the game. He’s a big guy. He can move. He’s strong. I think we’re excited about having him. We’ll see how he does, and the coaches will see where he fits. But he’s a great teammate and a great player.”

Even though Slauson, 30, played primarily at guard and started just five games at center, he said he feels comfortable manning the anchor position of the offensive line.

“As far as God-given talents go, I’m not up there with a lot of guys,” Slauson told Xtra 1360. “So how I make up for it is my tenacity and toughness for the game. I try and play as smart as I can and as tough as I can, because I know there’s a lot of guys out there that are faster than me and quicker than me, but I’ve got to make sure that I’m closing that gap with my work ethic and toughness.”

Slauson made two visits to the Chargers and the Buffalo Bills after his release from the Bears. Along with having the opportunity to play center with an elite quarterback like Rivers, another reason Slauson said he chose San Diego was the freakish talent in the offensive-line room, with the opportunity to work with guys like D.J. Fluker, Orlando Franklin, King Dunlap and Joe Barksdale.

The Chargers largely struggled up front due to injuries last season. But Slauson believes that with clear direction up front as the anchor of the offensive line, he can be part of the solution to change San Diego’s fortunes in 2016.

“When I came here on my visit, it was almost immediately that I felt the fit here was right,” Slauson told Xtra 1360. “And pretty much immediately I knew I wanted to be here. I think this team has an incredible chance to win now, and I want to be a part of that.

“I think I can help. I think I can do a lot of good in our room, being the offensive line. I think if we can get our room straightened out, then this offense has unlimited potential.”