Slater earned Pro Bowl recognition as a rookie and was anticipated last season to produce an encore performance. However, Slater exited a Week 3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars after rupturing his left biceps tendon and subsequently was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the year.
“It’s great,” Slater said about his injury on Wednesday after organized team activities. “I would say it’s been 100 percent for a while now, so at this point it’s just – the more reps I get the more confident I’ll feel.”
Slater was designated to return from injured reserve after the Chargers’ regular-season finale and coach Brandon Staley expressed optimism that he could appear in the lineup if they were able to make a playoff run.
However, the Jaguars defeated the Chargers, 31-30, in a Wild Card playoff to eliminate them from the postseason
“It was very close,” Slater said when asked if he could have played if the team had advanced. “That’s kind of what we were going after. Now I get more time.”
Slater missed 15 games in total, including the playoff.
“I feel like the biggest thing I learned from that was just how easily this can be taken from you,” said Slater, who turned 24 in March. “You only get so much time as it is in the NFL… so really feel a lot of urgency to get to where I want to be.”
In Slater’s absence, rookie Jamaree Salyer — a sixth-round pick from Georgia — took over at the position. Salyer is expected to maintain a starting role this season at right guard, where Zion Johnson is expected to move to left guard. The Bolts also return veteran center Corey Linsley and right tackle Trey Pipkins, who re-signed on a three-year, $21.75 million deal over the offseason.