The San Diego Chargers lost linebacker Stephen Cooper for the season when they placed him on injured reserve. TO replace him on the roster, they gave Gerald Hayes a call and signed him. We should be familiar with the name because he played seven season for the Arizona Cardinals and was actually a very important piece of their defense.
Hayes was drafted in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft and started 64 games over those seven seasons.
He was released this offseason along with Derek Anderson when he was due to make over $4 million in 2011 and had lost his spot in the starting lineup because of his own play and the play of Daryl Washington and Paris Lenon.
He was the tough, run-stuffing linebacker on the team and logged a ton of tackles. His best season was in 2007 when he had four sacks and 97 tackles. I believe the Cardinals team stat sheet was even higher because if I recall, he, Calvin Pace and Karlos Dansby all had over 100 tackles. But his Pro Football Reference page has him logging at least 85 tackles three years straight.
I firmly believe that his absence in the 2009 playoffs was probably the biggest loss on the team and was missed greatly when the New Orleans Saints had their way with the Cardinals defense. He had back problems and after surgery, he was simply not the same player in 2010.
He physically was not the same, but his undoing was also his mental errors. In 2010, he had dumb penalties and missed assignments. That, combined with his salary and the fact that there were already players on the roster that were performing, led to his departure.
Who knows how much playing time he will see with the Chargers, but one thing is certain, considering his production during his time in the desert, I hope he is successful again.