December 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) is tackled by Carolina Panthers defensive back Josh Thomas (22) after running for a first down during the second quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Mathews: “I feel faster”

Ryan Mathews is still trying to live up to the expectations that come with being a #12 overall draft pick. He was also stepping into a void created by the departure of LaDanian Tomlinson and the expectations held him back.

“I just think I put too much pressure on myself where I came in and tried to be what I wasn’t,” he said, via CBS Sports. “There was a great guy who led the way for me, LaDainian Tomlinson, and I thought I had to be him and do what he was doing.

“Instead, I got away from who I am. I got away from having fun and put too much pressure on myself. So now I just want to go back to the basics, run the ball and have fun. ”

But he has come into camp lighter and he thinks that will help him improve.

“That’s one thing I wanted to focus on is losing the weight and not being so bulky,” Mathews said Thursday, via the Union-Tribune San Diego. “I feel quicker, and I feel faster … I feel healthy. I don’t have all that weight. I remember last year, coming out of the first practice, my legs were tired. Not today.”

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