Joshua Palmer seeks bigger role with Chargers

His positional coach called him “so, so serious”, adding that Joshua Palmer is “straightforward” to the point of being “almost too much”.

To be more businesslike on the field, Palmer would have to line up in a three-piece suit.

Even before the opening of his second training camp with Charging device Last week, the 23-year-old receiver was very excited.

childhood friend of Palmer, John Metchi IIIjust revealed that he will likely miss his first season with Houston because he was diagnosed with leukemia.

“You hear about these things, but they never get to the point,” Palmer said. “I’m just speechless. You don’t know what to say and how to say it.”

Palmer and Metchi grew up together in Canada, in Brampton, a suburb of about 600,000 people northwest of Toronto. Their friendship goes so far that Palmer said, “I don’t remember not knowing him.”

Both eventually moved to the United States to play football and ended up with the SEC.

Houston Texans wide receiver John Metchi III smiles during rookie mini-camp practice in May.

Houston Texans wide receiver John Metchi III smiles during rookie mini-camp practice in May. Last week, Metchi announced that he had been diagnosed with leukemia.

(David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

Palmer played in Tennessee before being drafted in the third round by the Chargers last year, and Metchi played in Alabama before that. The Texans took him in the second round in April.

They were scheduled to split the field again this season in Week 4 when the Chargers played in Houston. But their next reunion has been postponed indefinitely.

“John is a soldier,” Palmer said. “Now he’s just in a different camp, in a different camp that he needs to go through. It will be at full capacity next season.”

Thinking of his friend, Palmer arrived in Costa Mesa, where the Chargers are hoping for a season of significant development. After Keenan Allen as well as Mike Williamsmore consistency is needed in the position of the team’s third receiver.

Palmer ended his rookie season on an upward trend. Beginning with Week 14 vs. New York Giants — a game Allen missed due to COVID-19 — he had 18 of 33 receptions and three of four touchdowns.

He caught a scoring pass from Justin Herbert for 23 yards and scored a fourth and 21 games late in the fourth quarter of the Chargers’ dramatic season finale in Las Vegas.

“This game with the Giants was a huge boost for him,” said Chargers receiving coach Chris Beatty. “He could do a few things as Keenan and see, ‘Hey, I can do this.’ Now he has confidence and it’s more about mastery of what he wants to do.”

Beatty almost worked with Palmer long before they merged with the Chargers. He was an assistant in Maryland and recruited Palmer from St. Thomas Aquinas.

Palmer also almost played in Southern California long before he became a Charger. He attended colleges before heading to Tennessee, including a stop at UCLA where a higher source apparently intervened.

“Someone told me it doesn’t rain in California,” Palmer said. “One time I was there, it rained all weekend. So I took it as a sign.”

Chargers wide receiver Joshua Palmer claimed a touchdown as a rookie last season.

Joshua Palmer, who ran for touchdowns last season in December, had 33 receptions as a rookie for the Chargers.

(Kevorg Jansezian/Getty Images)

Palmer’s serious nature came to light when he left Canada for South Florida to graduate from St. Thomas Aquinas High School, a traditional football force. He called it a “business decision” at the time. He was 15.

In a position known to create divas and distractions, Palmer retains something close to tunnel vision. His personality, Beatty explained, was the quietest of the Chargers’ receivers.

“He’s so different,” Beatty said. “He balances the room. You can’t have all the comedians out there. Everyone is joking with Josh, and he is looking at his iPad.”

That doesn’t mean Palmer lacks a lighter side. When asked if he played hockey as a child, he only answered the street version before adding, “I knew how to skate. I just couldn’t stop.”

Palmer is an athlete who prefers to stay locked up. In Tennessee, Palmer trained for the NFL on and off the field. He said that in his senior year of college he pretended to be in the league.

He became a more severe self-criticist. He studied cinema more. He began to take better care of his body and tried to develop a daily routine for a professional athlete.

Beatty praised Palmer’s approach and commitment, but acknowledged that he can sometimes dig too deep. The coach gave the example of Palmer trying to improve on an otherwise perfect route because the ball didn’t reach him.

“He’s just very straight forward, which is good in a lot of ways, but sometimes you think too much,” Beatty said. “That’s where he’s at, trying to learn how to get out of his way a little bit.”

The only thing Palmer has mastered this season is perspective. The situation with Metchi and the way his friend deals with it are a reminder of the most important thing.

Palmer said they were in touch, adding that Metchi was on the mend.

“It’s hard to put it into words,” Palmer said. “But John will be all right. He’s going to go through with it.”


The Chargers signed tight end Sage Surratt, a former undrafted free agent who most recently played in the USFL.