August 12, 2005

Camarillo Hopes to Defy Odds at Chargers Camp

By John Philip Wyllie

Chargers rookie wide receiver Greg Camarillo realizes that he faces some very long odds this summer as the Bolts proceed through the process of whittling down their roster to the league mandated 53. The way he figures it his odds are no worse however, than those faced by his grandfathers when they immigrated to the United States from Michoacan and Hungary.

“Both of them are tremendous stories. They arrived here when they were very young. The odds were stacked against them, but they survived and ended up raising good families. The strength that they (exhibited) is something that I use as my motivation,” Camarillo said.

At the moment, Camarillo is buried deep in the Chargers depth chart at wide receiver behind Eric Parker, Reche Caldwell, Malcom Floyd and Ruvell Martin, but that hasn’t stopped him from giving his all on each and every play.

“The first time I came in here (receivers) coach (James) Lofton explained my situation as an undrafted free agent, but he also gave me a fine example in (Chargers wideout) Eric Parker who was once in the same situation. From what I’ve seen, (Parker) is probably one of the better receivers around. If he could go from being an undrafted free agent to a NFL starter, than I can do it as well. It is just going to take some hard work,” Camarillo said. Hard work is something that Camarillo knows all about.

Despite a stellar high school career, Camarillo arrived at Stanford University without a football scholarship. The one-time walk-on departed last November as the Cardinals starting flanker, contributing 294 yards on 19 receptions. When he wasn’t practicing, playing or training, you could find him in the library working on his degree in engineering.

Despite the fact that Camarillo has shown good hands this summer and at times elicited the approval of the Charger faithful watching from the stands, his best opportunity to make this team is on special teams.

Camarillo spent a good part of Monday’s practice working on getting downfield quickly on kickoffs. From his position on the extreme left side of the line, he showed considerable ability in making his way through the traffic and zeroing in on the ball carrier.

“I started slow. Maybe I was a little worried about the competition, but now I feel like I am progressing. I’ve been getting some pointers from the coaches and the veteran receivers and they have been very helpful. When they see me do something wrong they help me correct it.”

Unlike many veterans who enjoy exhibition games about as much as they enjoy going to the dentist, Camarillo was thrilled to be playing in Green Bay Thursday night in his first NFL game. His family, long a source of support, made the trek out to Wisconsin to enjoy the experience with him.

“This will be the first time since last November that I will get a chance to suit up and play football,” Camarillo said prior to departing on Wednesday for Green Bay. “It has been a long time since I have competed with pads in a game setting, so I am looking forward to it.” If only his grandfathers could be on hand to watch.

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