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Brandon Staley: Derwin James has been cleared for full participation

Chris Simms begins his 2021 QB rankings with Case Keenum, Justin Fields and Trey Lance bringing up the rear.

Chargers safety Derwin James reportedly looked healthy when on the field for Los Angeles’ first day of OTAs.

Turns out he’s just as healthy as it appeared.

Following Monday’s first practice, head coach Brandon Staley said in his press conference that James was cleared for full participation. The safety missed the entire 2020 season with a torn meniscus.

He looks great. He sounds great — as you know one of his strengths as a football player is his leadership and that energy that he gives everybody each and every day. So you can see that he’s a multiplier out there,” Staley said. “I mean, from the minute that I got hired, I met this guy at my press conference and I felt better about our chances. So when he’s out there, our chances increase by a whole bunch.

“I think that he’s ready to play, and what we’ve tried to do is create a really sound approach for his comeback. And today was a big step for him. He was cleared for full participation and he’s had a tremendous offseason, looks great, and looking forward to a lot more from him.”

James burst onto the scene as a rookie, recording three interceptions, 13 passes defensed, 3.5 sacks, and four tackles for loss. He was the runner-up for defensive rookie of the year, with Colts linebacker Darius Leonard edging him out for the honor.

But James has been limited by injuries, playing just five games since the start of his second season. He underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot, and played only the last five weeks of 2019. He spent all of 2020 on injured reserve.