Atari Bigby's up-and-down NFL career is back on the upswing in San Diego.
An impact starter with the Green Bay Packers early in his career, Bigby has fallen off the radar the past two years following injuries and a long-simmering contract dispute in Green Bay. He was a rotational player with the Seattle Seahawks last year before landing with the San Diego Chargers this offseason.
"I feel rejuvenated and as excited about a season as I've ever been," Bigby said in Tuesday's edition of the North County Times.
According to the newspaper, Chargers general manager A.J. Smith has been saying publicly that Bigby was a great candidate to start at strong safety throughout the offseason. Bigby has lined up with the starters ahead of third-round pick Brandon Taylor in the base and nickel units.
"He's a complete player," coach Norv Turner said. "Playing the run is his strength, but he's a good pass defender and a solid special teams player. When he was in Green Bay, I thought he was a really good starting strong safety."
"The dude can play," free safety Eric Weddle said.
Filling the strong safety spot has not been Smith's strong suit. Bob Sanders was a bust. Steve Gregory has left for New England. Bigby was not always the most reliable player for the Packers, but he had a knack for making big plays.
Bigby, now 30, gets his shot to fill a weak spot in the Chargers' defense and revive a once-promising career. He's not going to get a better opportunity than this one.