Privacy, facilities led NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers to Finnie

Chargers QB Phillip Rivers answers questions at George Finnie Stadium on Baldwin Wallace’s campus.

George Finnie Stadium was filled with football players for practice, as usual. Helmets were buckled, shoulder pads were tightened, and the cleats dug into the turf, but the team that was practicing was not the Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets—instead, the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Los Angeles Chargers held their football practices at BW’s George Finnie Stadium prior to departing to London to play the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 21.

Director of Athletics, Kris Diaz, said the Chargers came to Cleveland to play the Cleveland Browns and then stayed in the area to practice, choosing BW to practice.

“The Chargers were having a trip to England after playing the Browns. They were in the area looking for possibilities to practice,” said Diaz.

John Snell, assistant athletic director, said BW was one of a few schools considered for the location of the Chargers practice.

“The Chargers sent out a couple representatives, and their representatives visited us, John Carrol, and Case and looked at our facilities and entire set up to see which worked best for them,” said Snell. “We have a BW grad [Dennis Abraham] who works for the organization. He initially contacted us and asked if we thought that would be a possibility.”

Diaz said the representatives from the Chargers were planning for somewhere to practice in the Cleveland area since the summer.

“They had people looking at a variety of spots this summer. They were here a couple of times this summer checking out different possibilities,” said Diaz. “They liked the fact that our stadium was relatively secure so they could have closed, private practices.”

According to Diaz, the Chargers benefited from staying in the area to practice instead of flying back to Los Angeles because it allowed for the Chargers to stay comfortable and avoid extra time traveling.

“They were able to come in town, play their game on Sunday, and stay in the same location when they were here,” said Diaz. “It helped them stay situated with all their meeting rooms, planning, and organization while they were here. They didn’t have to fly back to the west coast and lose the hours of travel time and then fly out to London from there.”

Snell said the Baldwin Wallace facilities provided the Chargers with spaces for both practices and workouts.

“We spoke to the Chargers general manager. He seemed to think this worked out really well for them, because they lifted in the Packard Athletic Center, and they practiced in the stadium,” said Snell.

Diaz said there was no concern with the Chargers interfering with Baldwin Wallace’s athletic teams.

“We were fortunate it worked out for us,” he said. “It fit into our schedule. Our priority is to make sure our teams have their times because they want to go in the morning. We were able to adjust some of our schedules in the weight room and we were able to adjust the locker room use to accommodate them.”

The Chargers went on to defeat the Tennessee Titans 20-19 in their week seven matchup.