There are only a limited number of former North Carolina Tar Heels players who subsequently became part of the Los Angeles Chargers, and the NFL team selected even fewer of them.
But there are a few notable players who attended college at the University of North Carolina before wearing a Chargers hat at the NFL Draft.

The list below names five such players, at least a few of whom you might be surprised to know suited up for the Tar Heels before going pro. 

Keep reading to find out who they are.

Cam Thomas

Cam Thomas is currently a free agent. A nose tackle, he played his college football at UNC, where the Chargers (then San Diego) drafted him in the fifth round as the 146th overall pick in 2020. He played in six games and made two sacks from seven tackles in his rookie season, and he went on to feature in all 16 fixtures in his second year in the league.

Thomas’s sophomore season saw him record 19 tackles and four sacks, having started in two games.

He was again available for every game the following campaign, making 21 tackles in 16 appearances. Such was the case in the 2013 season when he made 26 tackles and an interception. 

Thomas became a free agent after the 2013 season and has since played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Rams.

Chase Page

The Chargers drafted the defensive tackle in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL Draft, making him the 225th overall pick upon entering the league. Unfortunately, sprained ligaments in his knee kept him out of most of the preseason, forcing the team to release him.

He was signed to their practice squad the following day.

The Miami Dolphins signed Page to their active roster from the Chargers practice squad, having him come in to fill a spot left empty by injured veteran tackle Dan Wilkinson. He ended up being inactive for the final two games of the season.

The DT experienced another limited season the following year and did not receive a contract offer from the Fins for the 2008 season. 

Natrone Means

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Natrone Means was a running back in the NFL from 1993 to 2000, having represented the Tar Heels. His career also included stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers. He had two different spells with the Chargers.

Selected as the 41st overall pick in the second round of the 1993 NFL Draft, Natrone was a Pro Bowl player in his second season and is a member of the San Diego Chargers 50th Anniversary Team. 

The Chargers will hope to have another memorable year after signing Justin Herbert to the most lucrative deal in NFL history. They are currently +2800 to win the Super Bowl in 2024. By then, legal sports betting in North Carolina should be more widespread. Residents who may have become followed Means to the Chargers could enjoy betting on team futures if they so desire. 

While betting has been legal in the state since 2019, it is only available through three retail locations. Mobile betting is a little further off as lawmakers have been making moves to have it roll out in 2022. It’s possible that matters will be concluded by the end of this year.

Given his unique name, he was afforded some pretty cool monikers in the pros, including Natrone “Refried” Means and “Natrone Means Business.” Means has since worked as an offensive coordinator and running backs coach for various college programs. He’s currently an offensive analyst for North Carolina. 

Freddie Ray Jones Jr. 

A former tight end, Freddie Ray Jones Jr., was selected by the Chargers as the 45th overall pick in 1997. He quickly became one of the best tight ends in the NFL and had a remarkable five-year spell with the team. Fans might remember that he was the one who caught the first touchdown pass from Drew Brees in 2001.

Freddie joined the Arizona Cardinals before the start of the 2022 season, playing there for three years. He joined the Panthers next but never made an appearance. 

He announced his retirement at the age of 30 in 2005, having made 404 receptions for 4232 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Deems May

Last but not least is Deems May, who played eight seasons in the league as a tight end following a college career at UNC.

The Chargers chose him in the seventh round of the 1992 draft, and he remained with the team until 1996, at which point he moved to the Seattle Seahawks.

Photo: Best Sports Photos

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