The San Diego Chargers, who haven’t been to the playoffs since 2009, will be featured on Monday Night Football twice this upcoming season. ESPN looks smart for making that decision right about now.

The Bolts just got a lot more intriguing.

San Diego had a ho-hum first day of the NFL Draft that saw their first-round pick, mammoth offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, described variously as a “desperation pick” and a “bit of a reach.

Ho hum turned to “Holy s—!” on Friday afternoon, when new Chargers GM Tom Telesco traded up in the second round to select Heisman Trophy runner-up and fake dead girlfriend-scandalized Manti Te’o.

Telesco traded the Chargers second- and fourth-round picks to the Cardinals for Arizona’s second-rounder in order to get Te’o. The swap allowed San Diego to move up just six spots, demonstrating a strong desire to land the highly-decorated but subsequently character-questioned middle linebacker from Notre Dame.

Te’o was arguably the biggest story of the 2012 college football season. He absolutely became the biggest story in the sports world in January, when online sports outlet Deadspin published a stunning exposé that revealed the oft-repeated tearjerker of a tragically passed-away girlfriend to be an elaborate hoax. The story introduced the term “Catfishing” to the world, threw Te’o’s life into turmoil and sent his draft stock plummeting.

As a football player, immediate parallels were drawn between the Hawaiian native Te’o and the late Junior Seau. Both had Pacific Islander heritage, played middle linebacker for traditional powerhouse universities and were expected to make an immediate impact on the football field upon arrival.

“It’s a perfect scenario. My parents can come and watch, I can go home, it’s San Diego,” Te’o said from Hawaii after the pick was announced. “We’re all excited. I can’t be any happier.”

His selection does seem like a good fit in that sense. Instead of going to the pressurized environment of a city like New York or Chicago, he can find his way as an NFL player among the placid media and ideal climate of San Diego.

The Chargers are also receiving praise for their third-round selection of Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen. Injury questions saw Allen slide to San Diego with the 76th pick, but he’s being called a steal by analysts who had him rated as one of the top receivers in the draft.

The proof of all the attention given to the Chargers draftees will be in their on-field play. At the very least, the new front office has taken some bold steps to put the team back in the limelight.

Locals Headed to the NFL

A few players with San Diego ties got the call on Friday. San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar was selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 45th overall pick in the second round, while the Cleveland Browns snapped up Aztecs cornerback Leon McFadden in the 3rd round.

Former Helix High star and Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the second round, 56th overall.

San Diego native and Kentucky guard Larry Warford was taken in the third round, 65th overall by the Detroit Lions (h/t Stefanie Loh, U-T San Diego).

Tweaked Uniform?

The Chargers appear to have eschewed announcement or fanfare in a quiet update to their uniform. On Monday the sartorially-focused website Uni Watch leaked a photo of jerseys with no “neck roll” and two-color lettering on the back. On Thursday, the changes were confirmed when D.J. Fluker held up a jersey with the same design

They should still bring back the powder blues full-time, but it’s an improvement. 

Beau Lynott is a contributor to Voice of San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @lemonverbena_ or email

Beau Lynott is a private investigator and a contributor to Voice of San Diego.

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