Dwight Freeney is nearing a deal with the Chargers (USA Today Sports Images)
Freeney had a two-day meeting (Wednesday and Thursday) with the Chargers, who were in the market for pass-rush help after losing Shaun Phillips to free agency and Melvin Ingram to a torn ACL. Phillips led the Chargers with 9.5 sacks last season and his departure, to AFC West rival Denver Broncos, was expected to be cushioned by a larger role for Ingram, a 2012 first-round pick who suffered what will likely be a season-ending knee injury during the team's second day of OTA practices.
The 33-year-old Freeney spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the Indianapolis Colts, earning seven trips to the Pro Bowl while becoming that franchise's all-time leader in sacks with 107.5. Most of Freeney's production came during his first ten seasons as a defensive end in a 4-3 system. Last season, the Colts hired Chuck Pagano as head coach and, in a new 3-4 system, Freeney was moved to outside linebacker. Freeney posted just five sacks, his lowest total since notching 3.5 sacks in an injury-shortened 2007 season.
First-year Chargers GM Tom Telesco is very familiar with Freeney as he worked in the Colts' personnel department for 15 seasons before landing the San Diego job in January. San Diego's defensive coordinator is John Pagano, Chuck Pagano's younger brother, so the Chargers should have a good sense of how Freeney best fits their defense.
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