Korey Toomer has been in the NFL for four-plus seasons and played regular-season games for four teams — and earned a Super Bowl ring with a team for which he didn’t.
Just 11 days after signing with the San Diego Chargers, the 27-year-old inside linebacker from the University of Idaho was in the starting lineup for the first time in his professional career.
Toomer (No. 56) had four tackles, including one for loss, on Sunday during San Diego’s 34-31 loss to the Oakland Raiders, where he was on the practice squad until the Chargers needed a replacement for Manti Te’o. He played 10 games last season and the full 2016 preseason for Oakland, and he looked forward to playing against the Raiders in his former home stadium.
“Just being around those guys and knowing how they are, I’m looking forward to finally being able to hit (Oakland QB Derek) Carr. I couldn’t hit him in practice; now I can. It’s live,” Toomer told ESPN’s Eric D. Williams. “I like playing in the Black Hole. It gets you pumped up.”
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Toomer didn’t get a shot at Carr, at least not officially. He had to settle for wrapping up Jalen Richard twice and Jamize Olawale once, and dropping running back DeAndre Washington for a 4-yard loss to start a first-quarter series that started via interception in San Diego territory and ended with a missed field goal.
A fifth-round draft pick by Seattle in 2012, Toomer was a practice-squad player for two years, including the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVIII championship season. He played one game for Dallas and seven for St. Louis in 2014 before landing in Oakland, where he had four tackles last season. He made 19 stops this preseason, including nine tackles and a forced fumble against Arizona on Aug. 12.
Joining Toomer as a first-time NFL starter was Miami running back Jay Ajayi (No. 23, Boise State). In his 13th pro game, the 2015 fifth-round pick also scored his second touchdown of the season in a 30-17 loss to Tennessee. He had 13 carries for 42 yards as the Dolphins’ feature back, the most carries by a Miami player since Week 2.
“I felt like I was able to do some good things on the ground,” Ajayi said. “At the same time, though, we still have to be able to execute and stay on the field longer and keep those drives moving. We’re going to go back to work this next week and look at how we can improve and come out next Sunday hopefully better.”
Fourteen players from Idaho colleges participated in Thursday and Sunday games during Week 5. Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin (No. 22, Boise State; doubtful) and C Evan Smith (No. 62, Idaho State; questionable) are on the injury report for Monday’s game against Carolina. The complete list:
▪ Arizona LG Mike Iupati (No. 76, Idaho) started at San Francisco.
▪ Miami RB Jay Ajayi (No. 23, Boise State) started and had 13 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown against Tennessee.
▪ Dallas DE Tyrone Crawford (No. 98, Boise State) started and had two tackles against Cincinnati. Cowboys DE Benson Mayowa (No. 93, Idaho) had three tackles, including a sack, and two quarterback hits. Bengals FS George Iloka (No. 43, Boise State) started and made two stops.
▪ Denver S Shiloh Keo (No. 33, Idaho) had one tackle against Atlanta. Broncos DL Billy Winn (No. 97, Boise State) made two tackles.
▪ Cleveland CB Jamar Taylor (No. 21, Boise State) had seven tackles and broke up a pass against New England.
▪ San Diego ILB Korey Toomer (No. 56, Idaho) made four tackles, including one for loss, at Oakland.
Offensive line starters: New York Jets LT Ryan Clady (No. 78, Boise State), Chicago LT Charles Leno (No. 72, Boise State), Denver C Matt Paradis (No. 61, Council High/Boise State).
Also played: Baltimore LB Kamalei Correa (No. 51, Boise State), Dallas DE DeMarcus Lawrence (No. 90, Boise State).
Inactive: New England LB Shea McClellin (No. 58, Marsing High/Boise State; concussion), Dallas CB Orlando Scandrick (No. 32, Boise State; hamstrings), New York Giants FS Darian Thompson (No. 27, Boise State; foot).