Sportress of Blogitude

Chargers give defensive line coach ‘Breaking Bad’-inspired nickname

San Diego Chargers defensive line coach Don Johnson has made such an interesting impression upon his players that they have come up a quite interesting nickname for the impatient-yet-stoic man. And perhaps surprisingly, it’s not “Miami Vice,” which arguably would have been perfect.

Instead, the nickname is inspired by a character from the AMC hit and arguably one of the finest television dramas of all-time: “Breaking Bad.”

The first guess reasonably would be to figure the players have been calling Johnson “Heisenberg,” the moniker used by Walter White, the cancer-diagnosed, biology teacher-turned-meth-cook-turned-drug dealer kingpin who serves as the show’s main character.

But that isn’t the case. Instead, Chargers players have taken to referring to Johnson as one of the show’s more minor characters:

Don Hector Salamanca, an infirmed-but-intimidating member of a Mexican drug cartel who despite being confined to a wheelchair, makes for a dastardly presence and serves as an integral character in the show (no spoilers).

Chargers defensive lineman Ricardo Mathews takes credit for bestowing Johnson with the Don Salamanca nickname last season.

“They have that same look,” he said, via ESPN.com. “Like when you know you’re getting on DJ’s nerves, he has that look like, ‘I’m going to kick your a**.’”

But does he make a point by ringing a bell in a sinister manner? If so, the moniker is perfect.

Johnson, meanwhile, claims he did not know about the players’ clever nickname for him.

“They call me several things, most of them not to my face,” he said with a grin. “We try to have some fun at times. But they need to know, ‘Hey, shut it down. It’s time to go to work.’”

While it may not be the most flattering nicknames in some respects, given that Don Salamanca wasn’t the most noble of fellows (you know, with the entire “longtime member of a Mexican drug cartel” thing), but the Chargers players who bestowed it upon Johnson certainly had the best intentions and meant it as a compliment. Probably.