Lorenzo Neal says he nearly blocked for Barry Sanders.

He almost blocked for Emmitt Smith.

Those career opportunities didn't quite materialize for the retired NFL fullback. On Thursday, the ex-Charger had little hesitation when asked which running back he'd choose to block for today if he was still in the league.

"If you said, 'Lorenzo,'" Neal said on radio row of the Muriel Convention Center, "'where would like to go and block right now and take care of someone and really make a running back?' it'd be San Diego. Go take care of Ryan Mathews. Fresno State guy. I'd want to go take care of him. I'd want to get his career going."

Neal wrestled and play football at Fresno State before a 16-season NFL career.

Five of those years were spent with the Chargers, spanning from 2003 to 2007. The 42-year-old concluded his career in 2008 with the Ravens.

In December, Mathews completed his third NFL season.

It ended on injured reserve, where he spent the final two games after breaking his left clavicle. He was sidelined the first two games because of a broken right collarbone in the preseason.

The jury is still out, Neal said, in the caliber of career Mathews will have.