Sun, Dec 15, 2019

The Los Angeles Chargers aren’t out of the playoff race just yet, and now they’ll have a couple of big reinforcements for the final quarter of the 2019 NFL season, activating a pair of All-Pro safeties from injured reserve on Saturday.

As the team announced, both Derwin James and Adrian Phillips have returned to the active roster in advance of Sunday’s Week 13 showdown with the Denver Broncos.

The 17th overall pick of the 2018 draft, James lived up to his first-round billing — and then some — during his first season in Los Angeles, racking up 105 tackles, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions as a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate. Considered a centerpiece of the Chargers’ defense entering 2019, he underwent surgery for a stress fracture in his foot prior to the season, landed on IR in early September and sat out the team’s first 11 games.

Phillips, a sixth-year veteran of the team who originally joined the Chargers as an undrafted free agent, logged a career-high 94 tackles despite starting just seven games in a breakout 2018 campaign, earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors alongside James. An experienced special teamer, he opened 2019 as a starter in the back end of the secondary before a Week 2 broken arm sent him to IR.

Both safeties were eligible to return after sitting out at least eight games, but there might not be a better time for the Chargers to welcome back two Pro Bowl defenders. L.A. already touts a top-five pass defense but has lost two straight and is in dire need of divisional victories at 4-7, with the Kansas City Chiefs leading the West at 7-4.

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