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Chargers’ Fluker looks to rebound at any position


The Sports Xchange

SAN DIEGO — Will this D.J. be spinning? Not songs, but positions?

D.J Fluker remains the San Diego Chargers’ right tackle. He’s preparing for his third season with that in mind.

Then again, with the Chargers’ offensive line being revamped, Fluker is cool with wherever he ends up.

“It doesn’t matter where I play,” Fluker said, as the Chargers kicked off another week of OTAs. “Just so I’m part of the team. Being a team player is most important.”

The Chargers imported a lineman from Denver — Orlando Franklin. He plays guard, but has also seen time at tackle.

What Fluker saw too many times last year was a speed rusher sprinting past him. That led some to believe the 6-foot-5, 339-pounder might be built more to play inside than outside.

And in the Chargers’ workouts, Franklin has taken some reps at tackle and Fluker has done likewise at guard. But the Chargers are notorious for trying every lineman at every position, and after employing five starting centers last year, it’s understandable.

What’s clear is that Fluker needs to pick it up. After a sensational rookie season, his flaws were exposed occasionally in his second year.

“Usually after the first year nobody really knows you and they are trying to figure you out,” Fluker said. “But after the second year they know what you do, tendencies; they study you a lot harder the second year.”

So Fluker has attacked this offseason with vigor. He’s been running at least two miles a day, is staying true to a diet recommended by his chef and is giving himself every chance to shine, regardless of where the Chargers put him.

Need a right tackle? Fluker is in.

Need a right guard? Fluker is all set.

Need someone to return punts?

“I will do anything to make the team, man,” Fluker said with a laugh. “It’s all about making the 53-man roster, that’s all I know.”

Fluker also realizes he wants to see just how high his upside is after an uneven 2014.

“I try not to think about last year but it wasn’t my best,” he said. “I know I can do better. Everyone has their little second-year, sophomore slump. But this year I’m working my tail off to get better, and my main issue is to get better and play better.”

He gets to play baseball on Tuesday, and good luck finding a cap to fit Fluker’s massive head. Fluker is throwing out the first pitch at the Padres-Mets game.

“I can’t actually wait,” he said. “I may throw two or three (pitches).”

He may be thrown inside by the Chargers. Then again, maybe not.

But with center Nick Hardwick and right guard Jeromey Clary retiring — and the addition of Franklin and right tackle Joe Barskdale — it’s obvious the Chargers’ line will look different from last year.

“Whatever the team needs me to do — right side, right guard or left side — it doesn’t matter to me,” Fluker said. “Just be a team player.”

That attitude is music to any coach’s ear.

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