Chargers' Brinkley is a survivor

The nation got a chance to meet Curtis Brinkley Monday night in the San Diego Chargers' overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Brinkley had a career-high 10 carries for 43 yards in the 23-20 loss, but suffered a concussion in the game. He was cleared on Thursday, practiced Friday and should play Sunday, which is good news, given that Ryan Mathews is still battling a groin injury.

But Brinkley's story goes much deeper than the injury and his Monday night performance.

Brinkley came to the Chargers in 2009 as an undrafted free agent and has been released five different times by the team in the past two years. But his story has an even more unusual twist.

Brinkley was the victim of a shooting in 2009 and spent that year on the reserve non-football injury list. He was hit with three bullets from the gunfire, and while two of those were removed, Brinkley still has one of the bullets lodged in his body near his heart.

“It just wasn’t my time,” Brinkley told “God has me here for more reasons. I know what it is like to be in that bed and to think that my career is over. I used to take a lot of things for granted. I know how to appreciate things when I didn’t before.”

Brinkley was shot while on his way to pick up his sister, and believes he was attacked as a result of mistaken identity and jealousy on part of the gunman, who had dated his sister.

“I am assuming he thought I was someone else coming to pick her up,” Brinkley said.

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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for

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