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Hayden Hurst on joining the Chargers: ‘It was kind of a no-brainer to come here’

Chargers new tight end Hayden Hurst attributed the offensive scheme and familiar faces to why he made the move to Los Angeles

“For me, it was kind of a no-brainer to come here,” Hurst said. 

Hurst was the No. 25 overall pick by the Ravens in 2018 so he already had some connections to various Chargers personnel. 

“[Chargers General Manager] Joe Hortiz, [Chargers Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman], [Run Game Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach] Andy [Bischoff], getting back into the Harbaugh system — that’s who drafted me and brought me into the league, gave me my first opportunity,” Hurst said.

“It’s a lot of broad strokes from the Baltimore days — 2018-19, when I was there,” Hurst later added. “They’re reliant upon their tight ends, the receivers have to get open. It’s going to be a hell of a run game. It’s just cool seeing that playbook pop up there, familiar words, just kind of getting back to my roots.”

Under offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Hurst experienced how the run game would operate under Roman’s system. Though it was just one year with Roman in Baltimore, Hurst knew coming to Los Angeles the level of dominance on the ground the Chargers could have. 

“You have to be solid up front,” Hurst said about Roman’s run game. “You have to have smart guys all across the board — tight ends, offensive linemen, running backs. I think the most important part has just been that wherever he’s been, it’s just been a collective effort.

“When I was in Baltimore, those were two of the closest teams that I’ve ever been on, just guys fighting for one another,” Hurst continued. “It’s not that individualized stuff like you see in the NFL, it’s really a family. It’s a family.

“It’s what I signed up for, playing for the guy next to me, giving it my all to make sure that he gets his job done,” Hurst added. “It’s just a collective effort. I think that’s the beauty of it.”

Hurst spent two seasons with the Falcons before signing with the Bengals in 2022 and the Panthers last season.

Hurst has two seasons with at least 50 receptions. His best year was with Atlanta in 2020, when he had 58 catches for 571 yards and six touchdowns.

Hurst knows how important his position at tight end is for the offense to run successfully.

“You have to be able to do everything,” Hurst said about tight ends in the scheme. “Obviously, besides quarterback, I think that tight end, in this offense, probably has the most on their plate with run game protection stuff and pass game stuff.

“You have to be on your P’s and Q’s,” Hurst added. “From what I know of Andy and G-Ro, there’s not going to be specialized stuff, you have to be able to do everything. You have to be a well-rounded tight end in this offense.”

Although this is Hurst’s first time playing for Jim Harbaugh, he’s had experience with his brother, John Harbaugh, so the philosophy is quite similar. 

“He’s just very positive,” Hurst said of Jim Harbaugh. “A lot of coaches make this about themselves and their egos get in the way. But with him, he just wants to win, and he wants the guys to get better. He wants guys to get healthy. He wants guys to have success.

“Even in meetings, I’ve met him over the phone, but just seeing him in-person, how eccentric he is in meetings — he’s getting up, he’s showing guys how to do stuff. It just makes it fun because I think we all know that this can be a really, really long season if you don’t have the right people in place, it can kind of drag along,” Hurst added. “But, if you have a guy like that in the building who’s just enthusiastic about football and wants to win, then that’s infectious.”

Harbaugh has made it clear that he wants the Chargers to play physical football this season, and Hurst is eager to demonstrate this mentality on the field. 

Story originally appeared on Chargers Wire