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Decision to "Stay Home" a No Brainer for Rinehart

Posted Jun 10, 2014

Chad Rinehart said it was a no brainer to re-up with the Bolts following the most enjoyable season of his career.

Chad Rinehart hails from Boone, Iowa.  It’s a small town boasting a population of just 12,000, and as a kid he worked on a corn farm, bailing hay and detasseling corn.  While he does remain true to his roots, it took only one year in San Diego for Rinehart to feel right at home, particularly within the confines of Chargers Park.  That’s why it was a no-brainer for the guard to re-up for two more years with the Bolts in March following the completion of the one-year contract he signed in 2013.

“Anytime you get an offer from your home team it means a lot,” he explained following Tuesday’s OTA session.  “So I wanted to stay home.  Last year was the most enjoyable season I’ve ever had.  Being with this group of guys and reaching the playoffs was a great experience.  I’ve been a part of teams that weren’t nearly as good as we were last year, and losing was unenjoyable.  So winning with this group of guys was so much fun and weighed heavily on my decision to come back.”

Rinehart played a significant role on an offensive line that was a key force to the Chargers success.  He opened the year as the team’s left guard, but was forced to miss five games early in the season after injuring his toe.  When he was healthy enough to return, he was moved to right guard for three games due to other injuries along the line.  With everyone healthy, Rinehart’s return to the left side down the stretch, partly resulted in the most dominating win streak of the season for the Bolts.  The team ran for over 100 yards in each of the last four regular season games, including a season-high 186 yards against Kansas City in the last game of the year to catapult the team into the playoffs.

“I felt I played pretty well last year, and the Chargers showed they respected what I did earlier during free agency,” he said.  “It meant a lot that they respected me, and that’s all I could have asked for.  I’m excited about going forward with this group of guys.  Having been here for a whole year I can really concentrate on the little things now.  Last year when I would peel out I’d be focused on making sure I was going the right way.  This year I can pay more focus to the details.  We’re picking up right where we left off last season.”

Rinehart is excited to once again situate himself between two talented players in left tackle King Dunlap and center Nick Hardwick.  The trio has found a rhythm following a season battling in the trenches together.

“King is King and Nick is Nick,” he said with a laugh.  “Really the main thing is to get used to how they play and all of us getting on the same page.  Nick sees things a certain way, and I know King sees it the same way.  We trust each other and when we can play on the same page good things happen.”

The offensive line is inherently a close group in every NFL team’s locker room, but Rinehart believes that’s especially true for the Chargers. 

“We are definitely a tight knit group on the offensive line,” he said.   “We’re a group that gets the least amount of attention and that’s the nature of the position.  But we all respect each other and see each other working really hard.  You grow close when you go through those types of experiences.”

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