Chargers sign former North Tahoe star lineman
SAN DIEGO — Defensive lineman Shawn Price, a former all-state linebacker and offensive lineman at North Tahoe High School, became the latest former Buffalo Bills player to sign with the San Diego Chargers.
“That’s fantastic,” said longtime North Tahoe coach Bill Freeman. “I’ve never been a Chargers’ fan, but I’m one now.”
The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Price, out of football since being cut by the Bills just before the season, took the roster spot of defensive tackle Jamal Williams who dislocated his ankle Sunday when hit by Denver guard Steve Herndon.
Price was with Buffalo from 1996-2001, and also played with Tampa Bay from 1993-94 and Carolina in 1995.
Price’s first five seasons in Buffalo were under general manager John Butler, who became the Chargers GM in January 2001. Butler has signed several ex-Bills the last two seasons, including defensive end Marcellus Wiley and quarterback Doug Flutie, the backup to Drew Brees.
The 32-year-old Price made 34 tackles, including two sacks, for the Bills last season. He was re-signed prior to the season but didn’t make the team’s opening-game roster.
During his nine-year pro career, Price has 150 tackles and 14 1/2 quarterback sacks. His best season pressuring the quarterback came in 1998 when he recorded five sacks for the Bills.
Price helped the North Tahoe Lakers win the Nevada 2A state football championship in 1986 as a junior.
“When he played for us, he was know as the Tazmanian Devil,” said Freeman, who recently resigned after a 15-year run as head coach with the Lakers. “I’ve never seen anybody faster off the ball than he was. It’s like he knew the count. He’s a great football player, one of those natural, instinctive guys.”
After graduating from North Tahoe in 1988, Price played at Sierra College in Rocklin, where he earned Junior College All-America honors for a 22-sack season. Price went on to play at Pacific for two seasons, making 117 tackles and 10 sacks as an outside linebacker and defensive lineman.
Price’s name wasn’t called during the NFL Draft, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed him to a free-agent contract in 1993. He spent nine weeks on the practice squad before joining the active roster. In only his second NFL game, Price recorded a sack against the 49ers.
Two weeks later, Price made his first NFL start against Green Bay. He responded with five tackles, including a sack.
“Some coaches and I drove down and saw him play against the Raiders in the L.A. Coliseum in 1993, and here is playing against the Raiders again (this Sunday),” Freeman said.
Freeman began coaching at North Tahoe in 1979 when current McQueen coach Ken Dalton was in charge. During his 15 years as a head coach, the Lakers won 102 games while losing 41. The past two years were his only losing seasons.
“It’s been a great run, but it’s time to step down and turn it over to some new blood,” Freeman said. “I was married on a Sunday because we played a football game against Incline that Saturday, so football has been the mainstay around our house for 20 years.
“I’ve never seen a fall in Tahoe, and my wife Cindy and I are looking forward to seeing one.”
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