COSTA MESA, Calif. — Los Angeles Chargers tight end Virgil Green has an immense chip on his shoulder for Sunday’s game.
Facing his former team in the Denver Broncos for a second time this season, but for the first time on the road, the 30-year-old tight end said he felt disrespected his last three years in Denver.
“I’m really trying to go at them and show them what they had and didn’t use,” Green said. “I don’t think they respected the way I played the game, the way I went about my business.
“I feel like here — not only from my teammates, but from the coaches and the organization — I feel like the work I do is more respected here than it was there.”
Although his agents talked with them, Green said the Broncos did not extend an offer in free agency.
Instead, the Nevada product signed a three-year, $8.6 million deal to join the Chargers, returning to his home state of California.
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With Hunter Henry suffering a torn ACL knee injury in May, Green assumed the role as the Bolts’ No. 1 tight end.
Although Green has posted modest numbers in the passing game this year, with 19 catches for 210 receiving yards and a touchdown, he has been a big addition to a Bolts’ running game that’s averaging 107.4 yards per game, ninth in the NFL. Green has played 608 snaps on offense for the Chargers.
“It just wasn’t healthy mentally for me to be there anymore,” said Green of being in Denver. “So I knew I had to get out of there. … This is the happiest I’ve been in a real long time.
“I have no ill feelings toward them, I just felt like the way I played the game wasn’t respected as much as it is here.”
Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said he has been pleased with how Green has played for the Chargers.
“He’s been an unselfish player,” Whisenhunt said. “He’s a tremendous blocker. He’s done a good job in the pass game and worked hard. So it was a tremendous move by [general manager] Tom Telesco and his group to get Virgil signed, because that position is always hard to find guys that you think could be as consistent as Virgil has been, and he’s been a really good player for us.”
Green knows he will have his hands full this weekend against edge rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. The duo totaled two sacks in Denver’s surprising 23-22 win over the Chargers at StubHub Center last month.
“They did some things against us that we’re kind of prepared for this go-round,” Green said. “But those guys that they have are some pretty unique guys. That stuff that Von can do, the stuff that Chubb can do, they can cause some havoc. So you definitely have to be on your A-game and make sure we take the fight to those guys.”