For Shareece Wright, the former USC cornerback and current 3rd-round Chargers draft pick, getting selected in the 2011 NFL was already a dream come true. And getting selected by the San Diego Chargers was even better…like a dream within a dream. Wright always had NFL aspirations, but never thought he would be able to play for a team so close to his Colton, California hometown.
“I didn’t think I had a chance at all (at becoming a Charger),” Wright told me earlier this week. “I had only talked to them one time before that for 15-minutes at the combine! So I didn’t think they were going to draft me after only talking to me for 15-minutes, and that was the only contact that I had with the Chargers.”
Yet as the 3rd-round of the NFL draft approached the Chargers final pick of the day, the 89th selection overall, Wright’s manager did not lose hope.
“My manager had looked at me and said, ‘You don’t know, San Diego has a pick coming up,’” recalled Wright. “And sure enough, they did it!”
Wright was not exactly a Chargers fan growing up, but as he began eyeing the NFL as a real possibility, he looked to San Diego as his ideal pro destination. Now part of a team with two solid starting cornerbacks firmly in place on defense, Wright realizes that special teams may be his best opportunity to get on the field in his rookie season.
“I played a lot of special teams in my college career, and if they need me to do that then I’m willing to and I’m able to,” said Wright. “I played gunner on kickoff (like former Charger Kassim Osgood) and I was the jammer on punt returns, so I have experience with special teams and I don’t mind playing on it. It makes a difference and it helps win games.”
But Wright sees himself primarily as an outside cornerback, a guy who can play with a physical style. While he would welcome the opportunity to learn as a nickelback to get on the field, he believes his skills are best utilized on the outside.
While in college, Wright had an opportunity to develop those skills, finishing the 2010 season with 73 tackles (including 7.5 for a loss), 10 pass deflections, and two fumble recoveries. But his solid senior season was preceded by a number of obstacles that had to be overcome first.
In 2008, Wright was charged with felony resisting a police officer while attending a party in Colton. Given the circumstances of the case and the mild events of that night, charges were quickly dropped to a misdemeanor with minimal jail time, and reduced again to a disturbing the peace citation. That altercation was followed by a neck injury that sidelined him for most of the 2008 season. Then, in 2009, while dealing with the legal issues surrounding his charges from a year prior, Wright was ruled academically ineligible. A considerable number of obstacles for any young man to overcome.
Wright completed his required community service, rehabbed his injury, improved his grades, and now sounds like a man who is better off for having dealt with this much adversity.
“As a person in general it helped me grow and become a better person. Not that I wasn’t a good person, it just helped me learn off my mistakes and learn off my situation so I’m a lot wiser now. I’m sure when I face adversity I’ll know how to deal with it in the future.”
One positive result from the events of his citation was the community service experience gained by Wright. A positive guy by nature, he hopes to use his experience to be a positive influence within his community. He continues working with the Boys And Girls Club, as well as other local charities.
“Anything that is good takes a lot of hard work, and you can’t give up. And I enjoy reaching out to the kids and relaying that message to them and letting them know that they can fulfill their dreams if they just keeping working for it and keep striving for what they want in life, then they can achieve it. It’s possible, you know? Knowing where I came from and where I’m at now and where I’m heading, that's one of things I take pride in.”
In preparing for his rookie season with the Chargers, he has spent his offseason working out at USC with his strength and conditioning coach, along with a number of other former Trojans. Rehab for a knee injury kept him away from player organized team drills in San Diego, but he told me that he has been cleared to practice for a couple of weeks now and will be ready to go whenever the lockout is resolved.
I asked Wright if there was one current or former player with whom he would like to sit down and talk football, and he answered with no hesitation.
“I would have to say one of the best corners to play, Deion Sanders,” said Wright. “We had a chance to speak with him a little bit at the combine, after we did drills, but other than that I haven’t had a chance to really speak with him.”
And what does he like to do for fun? It turns out one pastime is a sport (is it a sport?) that is very familiar to his Chargers teammates.
“I like bowling, and I like theme parks like Six Flags. I like roller coasters, and the thrill of being on a roller coaster.”
I asked him if he knew he was joining a team with the king of all NFL bowlers in Shaun Phillips, and he responded with a laugh.
“Yeah. I’ve been hearing that! I’m excited to get together with those guys and go out bowling and see how good they really are.”
That’s Shareece Wright, a player who seems excited to represent the San Diego Chargers both on the field and off.
Shareece Wright will be signing autographs at the new Dick's Sporting Goods in Escondido this Saturday, July 16, from 10:30-11:30. Come out and welcome him to the team!
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