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Maybe years from now, if he accomplishes his goals and lives up to his grand potential, Justin Herbert will actually take time off from football every once in a while.
Maybe he’ll use the offseason to play some golf or travel or start a business or a foundation or something.
But we’re not there yet. Not close.
Herbert, about to start his third NFL season when NFL training camps open in late July, is home in Eugene, OR. now. He’s on vacation just like most other NFL players because the offseason program and OTAs and minicamps are over and training camps don’t start for five weeks.
So Herbert’s on vacation. Except Herbert is only on “vacation” in the sense he’s not at the Los Angeles Chargers training facility at 5:30 a.m. every day and staying there until well after the sun goes down.
He’s on “vacation” this way:
“Yeah, I’ll go home to Eugene for a little bit to see my family, but I’ll continue to work, continue to throw,” Herbert told reporters before leaving the Chargers facility last week. “I have plenty of receivers there. I have my brother to come catch for me, so we’ll be able to continue to work. I’ll bring my computer to study film and things like that. It is nice to have a little time off, but get ready for [the season] at the same time.”
This is bad news. Really bad news.
Just not for the Chargers.
This is bad for the Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and other AFC teams that understand the Chargers are trying to win a championship in 2022.
The Chargers, you see, have upgraded a defense that was marginal last year. Head coach Brandon Staley is bound to be more experienced and better in his second year than he was his first. The schemes the new staff installed last year are bound to be more familiar.
And Herbert is bound to be better after putting together two seasons in which he threw 31 touchdowns as a rookie and 38 last year.
That picture suggests bad things for the competition and the only way it wouldn’t be is if Herbert gets lazy or starts to feel entitled or simply becomes something of a pizza addict who doesn’t love football quite like he used to every other year of his young life.
But that apparently is not in the cards.
“I think the great thing about football, for me, is I need football,” Herbert said, crushing hopes throughout the rest of the league. “I love waking up and going to work and lifting, running, throwing and watching film. I think too much off time can kind of be a burden to me sometimes, so I always look forward to having stuff to do, whether that’s watching film or us throwing or being out here for OTAs. I think that’s kind of what I look forward to.”
But, but, Justin, how about stepping away from the game for a minute, dude? You know, like a break?
“That’s a good question,” Herbert said. “I feel like I’m kind of on vacation right now. I think that if you’re taking a vacation, you’re trying to get away from something. I always look forward to coming to this place and working and doing all of these fun things.
“Going home, I’ll do the same thing, trying to have as much fun as I can with my family and things like that, but it is work and getting ready for the season.
“I feel like I just get bored sometimes without football. Saturdays and Sundays are nice, but at the same time, I’d rather be playing and having something to do because I hate hanging around my house and not doing anything or accomplishing anything. Having something to look forward to, I think that really helps me.”
So the guy with great physical skills also happens to be a footballholic. Peyton Manning was like that. Tom Brady, too.
That’s not to suggest Herbert is going to be as successful as those guys, but the combination is hard to overcome.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero