Among the benefits of playing for the Chargers is that you can enjoy San Diego’s weather and beach life.
But the water was more frightening than appealing for this year’s No. 11 draft pick, D.J. Fluker, an offensive tackle from Alabama.
A traumatic experience in a pool at the age of 4, in which he nearly drowned, left Fluker terrified to learn how to swim. That changed at the NFL Rookie Symposium in Ohio last month when teammate Manti Te’o noticed the 340-pound Fluker unwilling to journey out of the shallow end of the pool.
Once Te’o learned why, he decided to teach Fluker to swim. Te’o told Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego that he taught Fluker the same way his father taught him.
Te’o first helped Fluker get comfortable with the water by putting his head under and then held the lineman parallel and instructed him to kick his feet and dig his hands in the water.
Soon, Te’o told Fluker he was going to let him go.
“I’m like, ‘Let me go? No, no, no, no, no.’ I just sank,” Fluker remembered.
On the third or fourth try, he started to get it down.
It was a heartwarming story about the team’s two most prominent rookies bonding.
Well, it will be until everyone realizes there’s no such person as D.J. Fluker.
■ FAIR DEAL — The White Sox and Rays completed an odd trade this week as Tampa Bay got reliever Jesse Crain and Chicago got, well, nothing.
Crain is on the disabled list, and it’s unclear when he’ll be back.
What the White Sox get in return is contingent on how many games Crain can appear in for the Rays, according to the Chicago Tribune.
If Crain can’t come back at all, Chicago must take its choice of either George Zimmerman or Casey Anthony.
■ THIS IS OUR HOUSE — A great race is shaping up between Boston and red-hot Tampa Bay in the American League East.
That could be good news for anyone following the respective teams’ Twitter accounts.
The Rays fired the first shot over the weekend after Red Sox slugger David Ortiz went ballistic and destroyed the dugout phone at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
Boston visits Tampa in early September, and the Rays want to be sure they have their equipment ready for the series.
“WANTED: Steel alloy telephone with Kevlar cord. Will spare no expense. Must install by Sept. 10,” read a post from the Rays account.
Whoever runs the Red Sox account stayed out of the fray for the time being but couldn’t resist firing back after another snarky post Monday night.
The Rays went into Boston and controversially won a make-up game to give Tampa Bay the division lead.
The Rays’ Twitter feed took note of the fact the famed division standings on the outfield wall would need to be updated.
“Dear @RedSox scoreboard operator — your standings are wrong. Yours truly, @RaysBaseball.”
Boston could take only so much.
“Don’t worry @raysbaseball we look forward to seeing you in Tampa in September for our home games at the Trop,” the Red Sox account fired back.
Should be fun.
COMPILED BY ADAM HILL LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL