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Chargers' Derwin James in Concussion Protocol After Ejection for Hit on Ashton Dulin

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 27, 2022

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 10: Derwin James #33 of the Los Angeles Chargers takes the field before the game against the Cleveland Browns at SoFi Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James has entered concussion protocol following Monday night's win over the Indianapolis Colts, head coach Brandon Staley told reporters after the game.

James was ejected in the first quarter after hitting Colts wide receiver Ashton Dulin in the head and neck area with the crown of his helmet. Dulin also entered concussion protocol and didn't return to the game after the hit.

James, a five-year NFL veteran, entered Monday's game having posted one interception, four pass breakups, two forced fumbles, four sacks, 106 tackles, five tackles for a loss and five quarterback hits in 12 games.

The Bolts selected James with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

His rookie season couldn't have been much better. In 16 starts, the former Florida State star amassed three interceptions, 13 pass breakups, 105 tackles and 3.5 sacks en route to Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors.

The Chargers went 11-5 and defeated the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Wild Card Round before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

Unfortunately, James only played five games over the next two years.

A stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal of his right foot suffered during a mid-August practice in 2019 forced him to miss the season's first 11 games. He returned for the final five and had 34 tackles (three for a loss) and one pass breakup.

James suffered a torn right meniscus during an Aug. 30, 2020 practice that required surgery and forced him to miss the entire season.

However, James returned to his dominant self in 2021 with his second Pro Bowl year. He finished the season with 15 starts that resulted in 118 tackles (75 solo), seven pass breakups and two sacks.

Unfortunately, if James is sidelined yet again, the Chargers lose the heart and soul of their defense. He's one of the most exciting and productive defensive backs when healthy, and hopefully, he returns as soon as possible to lead the Bolts' D once again.

Without him, look for Alohi Gilman to fill Derwin's spot. The 25-year-old, who is in his third NFL season, has 44 tackles in 14 games this season.