The San Diego Chargers' patience with 2009 first-round pick Larry English finally ran thin Tuesday, as the team reportedly released the veteran outside linebacker.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the news, and it was confirmed by the team:
Chargers released former first-round pick Larry English.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 22, 2014
We have released Larry English. http://t.co/1M8P42cBoF— San Diego Chargers (@Chargers) July 22, 2014
General manager Tom Telesco shared his thoughts on the move to cut English loose, per a news release from Ricky Henne of Chargers.com:
We’d like to thank Larry for his five years of dedicated service to the Chargers. Larry always gave us everything he had on the field while making significant contributions to many deserving organizations in the San Diego community.
This was about to be the final season of English's rookie contract, which created a rather confusing situation. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, English didn't play enough snaps last season to void the final year of his rookie deal.
Injuries have plagued English throughout his time in San Diego, but he nevertheless didn't live up to his billing as a No. 16 overall draft choice.
Ben Higgins of 10News San Diego felt English had a better chance to succeed elsewhere anyway:
Larry English really had very little chance of making the roster without a lot of injuries.— Ben Higgins (@BenHigginsSD) July 22, 2014
U-T San Diego's Michael Gehlken had some comments from English upon learning he was being cut:
Larry English was informed of release this morning. "Obviously, it's unfortunate. This has become like family to me." Story to come.— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) July 22, 2014
Veterans Dwight Freeney and Jarret Johnson are likely to start in the Chargers' 3-4 defensive alignment at outside linebacker. Athletic 2012 first-rounder Melvin Ingram would have seen the field more than English as well.
It was only when Ingram tore his ACL in organized team activities before last season that English was given his best opportunity to date, making a career-high five starts.
Johnson had high praise for English back in May 2013 when Ingram went down, per Henne:
Thank God Larry’s here. The guy’s got experience and a ton of talent. He had a rough go with injuries early in his career which has kept him back, but the dude can outright play. If we didn’t have a veteran, high caliber player like Larry we’d really be hurting. There were times last year, especially in training camp when he had more of a chance to show it, he was basically unblockable. With the pass rushers we had last year it was hard for him to get on the field, so this is a clean start for Larry. It’s a great opportunity for him and he’s earned it. So thank God we have Larry English.
However, English suffered a biceps injury and played in just nine total regular-season games, registering 2.5 sacks in that span to give him 11 for his five-year career.
Can Larry English salvage a successful NFL career?
The key is for English to stay on the field so he can prove his worth as an edge-rusher—something he's been counted on to do since he entered the NFL.
A failure to deliver to date—be it health issues, an inability to cut it in the pros or a little bit of both—has English searching for a new destination. San Diego didn't use this as much of a cost-cutting move, but it does alleviate some congestion on the depth chart.
If English is perceived as a bust, then it shouldn't be so due to a lack of effort. From many indications, he has worked hard throughout his playing days and has just had injury misfortune. In the right organization, English can still turn his legacy around and be a productive pass-rusher—be it at outside linebacker or his college position of defensive end.