<strong>July 2, 2005</strong>
Source: <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm">USA Today</a>
Shawne Merriman finally showed up - at the NFL rookie symposium.
But Merriman had a perfect record of not showing up at the Chargers' offseason workouts. Uncomfortable with the Chargers assertion they would negotiate with him in good faith if injured, Merriman skipped the minicamps and practices.
Merriman, the draft's No. 12 pick, will receive the Chargers opening contract offer soon after July 4. The real fireworks will likely come when Merriman and his agent, Kevin Poston, counter.
What the Chargers can count on him from Merriman at this point is anyone's guess. Plenty of first-round picks have been drafted and expected to contribute immediately. But Merriman didn't help his chances of doing that by not practicing with his future teammates.
"It's going to be difficult for Shawne to catch up," Schottenheimer said. "I'm not suggesting he can't.
"I've only been doing this for 28 years, and it's hard enough as it is without missing all this time."
Schottenheimer said when (if?) Merriman shows up, he could get a look at end as well as outside linebacker.
"We haven't ruled out the possibility of him playing with a hand on the ground either," Schottenheimer said.
Rookies are required to report on July 26 for training camp, with the first practice scheduled for the following day.
With or without Merriman.
-Coach Marty Schottenheimer expects the camp competition in the secondary to be spirited. "That will be a very, very interesting group," he said. "There are a number of guys back there that have the skill to be good winning players in this league. The corner competition is going to be very keen, as is the safety position."
-RB LaDainian Tomlinson went back and received his degree in psychology from TCU. "I wanted to be the first one in my family to graduate from college," he said. "I felt it was important to finish something that I started and show that I didn't go to school just to play football."
-Nothing new on a long-term contract for Pro Bowl TE Antonio Gates. He's scheduled to earn $380,000 next season as an exclusive rights free agent.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "There isn't a person around the organization right now that wouldn't tell you that we're hopeful that he stays injury-free and that he's got an opportunity to be a contributor to us this season." - Coach Marty Schottenheimer on the potential of rookie running back Darren Sproles.