Denzel Perryman anxiously awaits NFL debut

SAN DIEGO – Sprinting to the ball and tagging off on a running back isn’t what Denzel Perryman is all about.

He wants to hit somebody. And the University of Miami product known for the physical way he plays the game will get his first opportunity on Thursday, when the San Diego Chargers face the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium.

“It’s means a lot,” Perryman said. “This is my first NFL game, so I’m eager to play and just get in that environment. I know it’s preseason and whatnot, but it’s still an NFL game, and an opportunity to showcase pretty much why they drafted me.”

The Chargers selected Perryman in the second round of this year’s draft because of his penchant for knocking people backwards. At 5-11 and 240 pounds, Perryman led the Hurricanes with 110 tackles in 2014, earning third-team All-America honors.

Perryman ran a 4.68-second 40-yard time for the Chargers. Along with good athleticism, he provides versatility, with an ability to play both linebacker positions. And with projected starters Manti Te’o and Donald Butler missing a combined eight games last season, Perryman adds talented depth and competition at the inside linebacker spot.

“A lot of his game is based off of his instincts,” Telesco said. “If there’s one thing you could on him, it would be key and diagnostic instincts. It’s outstanding. And that makes up for some of that lack of height. And then he takes that lack of height and uses it to his advantage.”

Perryman wears No. 52 in honor of his favorite player growing up, Ray Lewis. He started wearing the number when he was six years old playing pee wee football, and tries to emulate the way his favorite player competed on the field.

“I was a big Ray Lewis fan,” Perryman said. “I even had Reebok cleats at the time.”

In order to do that, Perryman said he needs to continue to get better at the little things and steadily improve his overall game.

“I feel like I’ve been doing pretty good,” Perryman said. “There’s still some things I would like to clean up, little, small areas so they won’t turn into big areas.”

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