When he’s healthy and hardy, Bob Sanders is one of the NFL’s meanest hitters, a slightly older but no less intimidating version of Troy Polamalu. Sanders’ only problem is his health.
The San Diego Chargers are hoping their decision to sign Sanders to a one-year deal Thursday will reap benefits. The former Indianapolis Colts safety and defensive player of the year has played in just nine games the past three seasons and was cut this season after playing in just one game because of a torn biceps tendon he suffered Sept 12 against the Houston Texans.
“We are all very excited to add Bob Sanders to our defense,” general manager A.J. Smith said on the Chargers web site. “We have always held him in high regard. He’s a smart, physical, instinctive player. His intensity and playmaking ability can make an immediate impact on our defense.”
Sanders’ only problem will be staying on the field. He was the league’s DPOY in 2007 but was limited by knee, ankle and shoulder injuries the following season. A biceps problem kept him sidelined most of the past two years.
If Sanders, who turned 30 last month, can keep his health, he’ll be an impressive addition to a defense that ranked first in the league in total defense and passing yards allowed.
Coach Norv Turner said, “There’s no question I’m excited. The fact that Bob was available and excited about being here and then having it work out is great. Our guys have unbelievable respect for him and what he’s done through the years. Certainly he knows what we’re capable of doing, so it’s a great fit.”