Denzel Perryman imported from Miami

Denzel Perryman was born in Miami. He was raised in Miami.

He attended Coral Gables Senior High, its campus four minutes from his college alma mater, the University of Miami.

The NFL veterans he speaks to regularly — Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams, Jon Beason, Sean Spence — all were former college linebackers, like him, at Miami. The same goes for his favorite childhood player, Ray Lewis, whose No. 52 he wore in college and will again in San Diego.

San Diego.

The wrench to it all.

He knew next to nothing about the Chargers when they drafted him May 1, surprised they even had his number. But they'd been watching him. At a game last year, General Manager Tom Telesco heard him.

Perryman wants to show San Diego it was right — and Miami, in this case, was wrong.

The 21-year-old seemed destined never to leave South Florida. The Dolphins intimated as much, he said, expressing intent to draft him. But they let a chance pass with the No. 47 overall pick, trading back to the Eagles instead. The Chargers selected him at 48. He's now acclimating to a new town while awaiting a reunion with his old one.

San Diego will host Miami this year.

He knows.

"I can't wait to play the Dolphins," Perryman said. "December 20. I've already got it circled on my schedule. It's the hometown team, and it's one of the teams that passed me up. ... They were talking to me, telling me all this good stuff. We're all grown. You can tell me you're going to take me or not. Don't sugar coat with me. It is what it is.

"But Dec. 20, it's on and popping. Every other week, too."

Perryman must first transition to NFL life in San Diego.

It began later than planned.

Typically, a Chargers draft choice taken in the first three rounds will be flown to San Diego the next morning. Once there, he can shake hands, meet coaches and the front office, and be introduced in a formal press conference that is held in the team meeting room.

First-round pick Melvin Gordon did it this year.

Third-round pick Craig Mager did it.

Perryman, go figure, couldn't get out of Florida. His flight was canceled and other ones were full, so he stayed in Miami a bit longer. He eventually made it to San Diego on May 10 and has been gaining comfort since, inside linebacker Manti Te'o and defensive end Corey Liuget among the teammates taking him under their wing.

"I've been going asleep at like 9 or 10 o'clock over here," Perryman said. "Back home, it's like 12 or 1. I'm just trying to get adjusted to the time change. I hear San Diego is just like Miami. Beautiful but no humidity. I love it."

As general manager, Telesco can't spend as much time on the road as he did early in his scouting career.

But when he can, he makes the time.

The Chargers predominantly play on Sundays, allowing him to scout a Saturday game that is relatively close to where the team is playing. Last year, it played the Dolphins on Nov. 2 in Miami Gardens. The day before, he and JoJo Wooden, team director of player personnel, watched North Carolina at Miami.

The Hurricanes had the game in hand, up 47-13 in the fourth quarter.

The Tar Heels were at the goal line, more than 100 yards from where Telesco was positioned in the press box. That is when he heard, not saw, Perryman smother running back T.J. Logan for no gain. The sound filled Sun Life Stadium.

Telesco asked Wooden if that was No. 52.

It was.

On May 1, teams approached the Chargers to trade down in the second round. They chose to take their thumper instead, born, raised and imported from Miami.

"I just like contact," Perryman said. "I'm one of those aggressive players. ... When I get to the ball, you'll know. Whether you hear it or you see it, I'm getting there with bad intentions."

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