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Chargers prepared to blow Brees out of town

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2006/02/21/sports/professional/chargers/22006191957.txt">North County Times</a>

    <img width="274" height="139" alt="Drew Brees" id="image1957" src="http://bolttalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/02/g_brees_ht.jpg" />

    By Jay Paris

    SAN DIEGO ---- There was a draft going through the Chargers' facility Monday as team officials all but opened an exit door for Drew Brees. All indications are the Chargers are preparing to have a new starting quarterback.

    Chargers general manager A.J. Smith on Monday said the team will not ensure Brees' return by designating him with the franchise player or transition tag. Such a maneuver would guarantee Brees a nearly $10 million salary for next season, a price the Chargers deemed too steep for a player on the mend.

    Brees is rehabbing from last month's surgery which repaired a torn labrum in his right (throwing) shoulder. At the time of the operation, the Chargers and Brees were in agreement he would return at full strength and be ready for July's training camp.
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    Brees said the same thing recently, fresh from a session with the Chargers' medical staff.

    "It's going well,'' said Brees, who wasn't available for comment Monday. "It's a slow process, and there's just a healing element to the whole thing.''

    But Smith said there are medical issues he declined to discuss. Whether it's a smoke screen to scare off potential suitors or Smith being forthright remains to be seen.

    "We have some medical concerns, and I will leave it at that,'' Smith said.

    Tom Condon, Brees' agent, didn't return a phone call seeking a response to Smith's remarks.

    What's remarkable ---- to some ---- is the Chargers chasing away the only quarterback to lead them to the playoffs since Stan Humphries in 1995. Brees was a Pro Bowl first alternate in 2005, after his sensational Pro Bowl season of 2004 when he was the NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

    Smith said the team will continue dialogue with Brees regarding a long-term contract. The parties have until March 3 to strike a deal before Brees, as an unrestricted free agent, is eligible to negotiate with other teams.

    But it's obvious Brees didn't appreciate the Chargers' initial low-ball offer, despite knowing they had additional leverage with Brees not being healthy.

    "Our proposals have not been acceptable at this point and time, but we will continue to talk,'' Smith said. "Drew Brees wants to be here; we want him to be here. Drew wants a long-term contract; we want him to have a long-term contract.''

    If no common ground is found, Brees is gone like the wind.

    "Drew will be playing for somebody else, and we will move forward with our lives,'' Smith said.

    If so, Philip Rivers, the 2004 draft's fourth overall pick, is expected to replace Brees. Rivers, a former North Carolina State star, has never started an NFL game.

    "I really like Philip Rivers, very much so. Except he has never played in the National Football League, except to dabble in it and that is always a concern for all of us,'' said Smith of Rivers' 30 NFL passes. "Anytime a collegiate player enters the National Football League, it starts all over again. There are first-round busts and seventh-rounders that go to (the Pro Bowl) every year.''

    Brees threw for 3,576 yards last season, the sixth-highest total in franchise history. He also tossed 24 touchdown passes (with 15 interceptions) while completing 64.6 percent of his passes ---- the third-highest completion percentage in Chargers history.

    But those numbers aren't enough to sway Smith from the value he has placed on the popular Brees, the quintessential leader in the Chargers' clubhouse.

    "Tough decisions are made all the time around the league and for us as to what players we are going to have here and not have here,'' Smith said.

    CHARGERS NOTES ---- The team said its other unrestricted free agents will be allowed to test the market: WR Reche Caldwell, CB Jamar Fletcher, G Bob Hallen, LB Ben Leber, TE Justin Peelle and DE DeQuincy Scott. The Chargers won't tender an offer to restricted free agent T Courtney VanBuren.

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