COSTA MESA — Defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day angered running back Austin Ekeler when he tackled him one day last month during training camp, a real no-no during controlled practices. On another afternoon, Joseph-Day trash-talked Justin Herbert, taunting the Pro Bowl quarterback.
“I was, like, ‘Don’t be sensitive, Justin,’” Joseph-Day said, laughing at the retelling Thursday. “Then (Wednesday), I got one of the tight ends mad. I was talking trash. But it’s good. I think that breeds competition. I think that breeds competitive excellence. I think you need that. You need someone in your ear.
“Now, I may be annoying Justin, I may be annoying that tight end, but it’s, like, ‘Man, that Sebastian, quit annoying me. Shut the hell up. I’m about to block the (expletive) out of him.’ Or Justin would be like, ‘I’m about to throw a strike down the field.’ Know what I mean?”
“It’s a method to my madness,” he said. “I like it. I like the jawing back and forth.”
Joseph-Day plays two significant roles with the Chargers. First and foremost, he’s a hard-hearted defender, a man who lines up in the trenches and plays one of football’s most physically demanding positions. But he’s also a kind-hearted soul, someone quick to share a laugh.
He actually took a moment to apologize for being grumpy midway through his session with reporters before Thursday’s practice. In fact, he had no reason to do so. He had answered their questions politely and with a smile when it was warranted. He was patient and forthcoming.
“Football is a violent game,” he said when asked about his twin personalities. “You definitely have to know how to turn it on and off. Sorry, if I’m perceived as being in a bad mood right now. I was legit just watching film just now, so I’m still in that mode. I’m not as bubbly as myself. Sorry.”
Joseph-Day played three years for the Rams, helping them win the Super Bowl this past season. He learned some of the dark arts that come with being a defensive lineman from some of the game’s best, including Aaron Donald. He also picked up trash talking “along the way.”
“Hopefully, I’m doing it all in a positive sense, just to help bring the best out of everyone and vice versa, you know?” Joseph-Day said of exchanging insults with teammates. “It would only be right if they did talk trash back to me. I want it that way. It makes me go harder.”
RUNNING BACK UPDATE
Chargers coach Brandon Staley said newly-signing running back Sony Michel “fit right in” during his first practice Wednesday. The Chargers signed Michel after he was released earlier this week by the Miami Dolphins, believing he would add depth and experience to their backfield.
It’s expected that Michel would compete for carries and receptions behind starter Austin Ekeler. Joshua Kelley and Isaiah Spiller also will be battling for the backup job. Kelley appeared to have won the job in training camp, with Spiller sidelined for several weeks by an ankle injury.
Staley said signing Michel “just felt like it would be a move that would really help solidify our running back corps.” Staley also said he had watched Michel play since he was a 14-year-old playing on the high school varsity in Plantation, Florida, adding that “he was a legend down there.”
ODDS AND ENDS
The Chargers signed running back Larry Rountree III to their practice squad after he cleared waivers. They waived Rountree to make room on their 53-man roster after signing Michel on Wednesday. The Chargers’ practice squad stands at 15 players, one shy of the NFL maximum. …
Cornerback J.C. Jackson continued working out while wearing a walking boot after undergoing minor ankle surgery last week. Jackson is “trending positive,” according to Staley. The Chargers expect to know more in the next few days about his status for practice next week. …
Staley said center Corey Linsley would rejoin the Chargers for practice after he was given the past two days off as “just a couple of veterans days.” Said Staley: “He’ll be out at practice. Just taking care of him more than anything. Giving him a couple days of rest. Nothing to be concerned about..” …
Staley then gave a shoutout to tennis great Serena Williams for her second-round win at the U.S. Open on Wednesday night in New York. Staley is a big tennis fan, spending time at Wimbledon this summer. “You’re talking about the greatest of all time,” he said of Williams, the winner of 23 Grand Slam singles titles.