Player Profile: Malcolm Floyd
Malcolm Floyd is a California native. He was born in Sacramento where he played football (as an all-city safety) and basketball for River City High, garnering awards in both sports. Floyd attended college at Wyoming where he majored in health sciences, and finished his college career with 186 catches for 2,411 yards and 14 TDs.
Being a star in both basketball and football is something he shares with his teammate, Antonio Gates. “I think [the two sports are] interrelated. I’ve been playing basketball since the first grade. I think you can relate it to just getting a rebound. Flying up for a rebound kind of translates to going up for jump balls. I think it kind of runs parallel to football.” However, he’s not looking to take on Gates any time soon in a one-on-one, saying, “He’s the best player I’ve ever played. I respect his hoops game.”
Charger fans probably know Floyd is great in basketball. But there are a few other facts they might not know about Malcolm. He is the first half Samoan, half African-American to play wide receiver in the NFL, and his cousin was one of the first Samoans to graduate from Air Force. Malcolm holds the Chargers record for highest receiving yards in a game (213) in the last 25 years. Malcolm is the loving father of a little boy. And last year, Malcolm averaged 17.2 yards per catch, which tied Vincent Jackson for the 2nd-highest average in the NFL.
Malcolm’s NFL career started in 2004 when he signed with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent. On January 2, 2005, against Kansas City, he had his first NFL touchdown reception, a 13-yard pass from another Chargers rookie, QB Philip Rivers. It was also the first NFL TD for Rivers. Of that touchdown ball, Floyd now says, “I think I have the ball . . .but I wouldn’t mind sharing it with him.”
After spending most of 2005 on the practice squad, Floyd got busy in 2006, when he played in 12 games with 15 catches for 210 yards and 3 TDs. He was averaging 14 yds/catch. In Week 10 at Cincinnati, he went in for the injured Eric Parker, and racked up his first career 100-yard game, with 5 catches for 109 yards. Floyd earned the Chargers Alumni Player of the Week for his fantastic performance in Cincy. Unfortunately, a few weeks later, he suffered an ankle injury and was placed on IR for the remainder of the year.
Early in 2007, Floyd signed a one-year contract and made his presence felt with 7 for 97 yards, averaging 13.9 yards/catch. Floyd is always reliable on 3rd and long. Against Green Bay, he made a fantastic 25-yard catch on 3rd and 13 that led to a Chargers TD. Against the Raiders, he helped the Chargers eventual TD drive with a 16-yard catch on 3rd and long. Floyd was starting to catch fire.
In 2008, Floyd signed another one-year contract. His stats for the year were growing each year, and in 2008 Floyd had 27 receptions for 465 yards (17.2 yds per catch avg.) and 4 TDs. The Miracle 2008 Chargers were 4 games back with 4 to go, and every week was a playoff-intensive must-win game. All season long Floyd played all-out in every game, and in Week 15 at Kansas City, it almost cost him his life.
It was December 14, and the Chargers traveled to Kansas City to face QB Tyler Thigpen, Coach Herm Edwards & the Chiefs. It was 39 degrees and cold and miserable. Floyd describes what happened during the game’s very first series, “I got hit in the (right) rib cage out of bounds. I started having trouble breathing, but I just thought it was the cold weather. I got nailed again in the same spot when I was extended on [a] fourth-down catch.”
Floyd ignored the pain, and toughed it out as the Chargers scratched and clawed, trying desperately to get this win. They had been trailing the entire game, and with a little over 4 minutes left in the game, the Bolts were down 21-10. Rivers began to drive the team downfield. He hit a wide-open Floyd across the middle for a first down. With 3:35 on the clock, Rivers hit Floyd – again across the middle – for another first down. Now the Chargers were running their hurry-up offense. On the field, Floyd was having more and more difficulty breathing. “My breathing felt irregular,” he said, “especially during that last drive when we were going without a huddle.”
With 1:55 left in the game, on 2nd & 10, Rivers threw to Floyd from the shotgun for a 14-yard gain. Floyd made the catch and, as usual, strained for yards-after-the-catch. With Bernard Pollard on his back, Floyd pistoned his legs and picked up another 2 yards until Pollard brought him down inside the 5-yard line.
Malcolm continued to struggle to breathe, but ran back to the line of scrimmage for the next play. 1:19 on the clock. 2nd & goal, ball on the 4-yard line. Rivers again in the shotgun, dropped back, his RB and TE were was covered, but in the back of the end zone was Floyd, who caught Rivers’ floater 2 feet off the ground for the TD. Barely able to breathe now, he lay on his back and held the ball up with one hand, indicating a clean catch. As the referee indicated “Touchdown!” the TV cameras caught Floyd as he returned to the huddle, his labored breathing evident in the cold Kansas City air.
Our (then) outstanding special teams unit executed a perfect onside kick, and recovered the ball. Announcer Ian Eagle stated, “The San Diego Chargers have a chance to pull a rabbit out of a hat. They have no business being in this position.” That rabbit ended up being Rivers to Jackson in the end zone, and the Chargers won 22-21 in a miracle finish.
“I was able to play and finish the game,” said Floyd. After the game, however, Floyd told the team physicians about his troubled breathing. The team had X-rays taken that revealed Floyd had suffered a collapsed lung. As the team flew back to San Diego, Floyd stayed in KC and was hospitalized overnight where a tube was inserted in his lung. He flew to San Diego the following day. If Floyd had boarded the plane with the team Sunday after the game, it very well could have been life threatening to him. “The doctors told me I was lucky that I didn’t get on the plane for the three-or four-hour flight home,” Floyd said. “It had to do with the pressure change that goes with flying in combination with the collapsed lung,” he continued. “If I hadn’t said anything, I’d have flown with the team and I would not be here.”
Malcolm Floyd had bravely played his last down for 2008, and was placed in IR for the rest of the year.
In 2009, Floyd signed another one-year contract, and had his best season of his career with 45 catches (a long for 53 yds), 776 yds. and 1 TD. Following the release of Chris Chambers, Floyd became the number two starting receiver behind Vincent Jackson. He played in every game, including preseason and postseason.
He was awarded 2 game balls in 2009, the first for his performance Christmas Night at Tennessee. Floyd had 3 catches for 55 yards, averaging a whopping 18.3 yds./catch in the 42-17 trouncing of the Titans. In the third quarter, with Cortland Finnegan hanging all over him, Floyd caught a spectacular pass to make it 1st & goal. “Did he hang onto it??” cried announcer Bob Papa, “Yes! What a catch by Floyd! Gain of 21 for San Diego.”
Floyd’s second game ball was for the last game of the regular season against the Redskins. Floyd was spectacular and racked up 9 receptions for 140 yards. Announcer Ron Pitts said to John Lynch, “You talked about Malcolm Floyd earlier. I don’t want to call him a sleeper, but he has definitely complimented Vincent Jackson very well.”
This year, Floyd signed another one-year tender, and with VJ’s contract holdout, became the Chargers’ No. 1 receiver. When asked about being No. 1, Malcolm immediately pointed out that all the wide receivers were moving up on the roster, and said, “I’m glad they’re getting an opportunity as well. They’re great players, and it’s kind of like we’re a family, so I’m glad to see them do well as well.”
Malcolm burst out of the gate in Week 2 v. Jacksonville, a game only enjoyed by Charger fans at the Q, since the game was blacked out. Floyd had 3 catches for 95 yds. (an incredible 31.7 yds./catch avg.), including an unbelievable 54 yard TD on …3rd & 12.
In Week 3 at Seattle, Floyd had 6 receptions for 97 yds. (16.2/yds/catch avg.) and 1 TD.
Floyd had a huge reception in the 2Q, 5:59 on the clock, on … wait for it … 3rd & 12. Rivers had taken a sack on the previous play due to a break down in protection, and he was not happy about it. Ian Eagle called the game, “Rivers in the shotgun. Here comes the rush, they handle it, Rivers steps up and throws, finds a seam, Malcolm Floyd! And he’s got a first down … that’s a 24 yard pass play and another big 3rd down conversion.” Rivers had fired a laser shot to Floyd, who caught it in the middle of five Seahawk defenders. “I don’t think you make Number Seventeen mad!” Dan Fouts chimed in, “Watch Rivers step up in the pocket, have a lane and fire a 90 mph fast ball to a wide open Malcolm Floyd against the zone and Floyd with good speed after the catch gets an extra ten yards.”
3Q, 12:38 on the clock, Chargers were trailing 0-17, and were looking to score on first & goal. Rivers was under center, dropped back, and eyed Hester the whole way. Tatupu bit, took one step towards Hester, and that was all Rivers needed. Floyd found the void in coverage in the middle of the end zone, and Rivers threaded him the ball for a touchdown. Now gaining on Seattle, 7-17, with 8:16 on the clock in the 3Q, the Chargers need to convert a crucial 3rd & 11. Hmmm… 3rd & long. Out of the shotgun, the rush coming, Rivers fearlessly stepped up and gunned the ball to Floyd, who was in double coverage. 18 yards and a first down… Chargers!
“Malcolm got lucky again, as we say in the locker room,” Rivers said. “He’s so humble about it, saying he got lucky, but he seems to get lucky like that every day. Malcolm has unbelievable talent playing the ball. When it’s up in the air, he thinks it’s his. The play’s never dead until the ball’s on the ground or in his hands. As a quarterback, it certainly gives you the confidence to keep throwing them when you see him in those positions.”
Floyd was just getting started. He had the game of his career in Oakland in Week 5 with 1 TD, 8 passes for 213 yards, which is an incredible 26.6 yards per catch average. It was the best game by a Chargers receiver in 25 years since Wes Chandler had 243 rec. yds in 1985. Announcers Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots praised Floyd after his incredible 45-yard catch, “That was just a great route by Malcolm Floyd. We talk about the ability to get the ball down the field… and you can see he’s beaten right there [before Rivers throws the ball] and Stanford Routt starts to grab Floyd because he knows he’s even and leavin’. The speed of Floyd to be able to catch that ball and track it is what this offense does best. Philip Rivers is going to find the open receiver downfield, he’s not a dink and dunk kind of guy.” Even though the Chargers lost that game, in the post-game presser, Rivers, who had thrown for 431 yards, praised Floyd, “Malcolm had a great game and it won’t be overlooked in here.” Floyd said after the game, “I’ve got the best quarterback in the league and the best offensive play-caller in the league. All I have to do is run my routes correctly and the ball’s going to be there on time.” He paused. “But I wish it would’ve converted over to a win.”
In Week 6, at St. Louis, Floyd suffered a hamstring injury during the third quarter and has not played since. In 6 games this year, he has 24 receptions, 513 yards (21.4/yds./catch avg.) and 3 TDs.
He is expected to play at home on Monday night against the Broncos after missing 4 weeks. He will be a welcome addition to the Charges offense, because, make no mistake about it, Charger fans, Philip Rivers IS going to break Dan Marino’s 1984 passing record of 5,084 yards this year. The only question is: who will catch that record-breaking ball? If it’s a third & long play, look for Malcolm Floyd to come down with it. Hey Philip, Malcolm says he’s willing to share.