I can't believe that my professional journey has lead me back to LA. My football career started at Crenshaw High in South Central LA nearly twenty years ago. I spent my first 18 years in the same neighborhood. Coming home feels great after living away for so long.
Thankfully the move from San Diego to LA wasn't as huge of a transition like moving from Seattle to San Diego. We didn’t have to ship our cars, change teams, navigate the airport with too much luggage, or fly the friendly skies with a grumpy child screaming loud enough to beat your ear drums into submission. Nope. We were spared a stressful move this go-around.
I really love home improvement and design, so I actually had fun browsing houses online, and even more fun visiting them in person. My wife and I would try to envision our daily lives in each house we saw — which rooms could be for the kids, which room would be the playroom, and which room could be for daddy? Where could I run to for some time alone with my X-Box? Of course I advocated for a man cave. I never get a man cave man!! I'm always stuck in some random corner like a child on punishment. Can your boy get some me time?
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
The Chargers organization was really helpful with the move, not only covering expenses, but also sharing resources about great neighborhoods to live in and more. My teammates and I have been discussing the moving process, sharing advice on where to look, and keeping up with who has found a place or not. The off season move has been a unique experience for all Chargers teammates and families. Relocating a NFL franchise doesn't happen too often. As a matter of fact, before the St. Louis Rams moved to LA in 2016, there hadn't been a franchise relocation since 1997 when the Houston Oilers moved to Memphis and became the Tennessee Titans.
Although, the house hunting part was fun, it became difficult once we actually started putting in our rental applications. Some owners in the suburbs we were visiting did not want us living in their house. Though we exceeded the standard tenant requirements, put together a competitive application with a Tier 1 credit score, references, a cover letter, and advanced payment, we were denied. This was not the first time we experienced this. We were also met with the same unwelcoming response trying to find a home in the suburbs of San Diego.
Some other black teammates were having trouble getting owners to rent to them too. A teammate in the same situation offered to pay A YEAR upfront and was denied. One landlord even changed the requirements on another teammate after his family submitted their application so that they would no longer be eligible. It’s disheartening to have to go through this in 2017. But last week, thankfully, we found a place! And I even got a little extra space for a "man corner." 🙄 Now for the not-so-fun part —packing and unpacking, changing addresses, finding new schools for the kids, and following my wife and baby warden's new home demands.
Despite the stress of moving, I am really looking forward to being in LA again. I will be closer to my family which will really come in handy when we need a sitter on date night! My family will be able to come to all the games too. I’m super excited about playing in front of a home crowd; it'll not only bring back great memories, but also bring incredible energy to the stands. I’m coming full circle with this move and I am happy to finally be home again.
p.s. - I'm NOT looking forward to LA traffic. That 405 is a beast! Somebody pray for me 🙏🏾