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Chargers searching for strong safety, still

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by CoronaDoug, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    Chargers searching for strong safety, still

    Written by

    Michael Gehlken


    Rodney Harrison was the Chargers' short, stocky heavyweight hitter of a strong safety for nine seasons.

    Chippy, boisterous and fearless — regulating him was the worst headache current Commissioner Roger Goodell never knew.

    Then, he was bumped to the curb.

    In February 2003, the Chargers released their thumper, targeting a safety with more range amid a schematic shift. Nine years and several failed experiments later, the search for a lasting replacement continues.

    Bob Sanders? No. Kevin Ellison? No. Clinton Hart ... Terrence Kiel ...

    “We’ve been trying to find a strong safety for a long time," General Manager A.J. Smith said. "Until we find one we like, we’ll keep trying."

    The Chargers are known not to be enamored with their options in free agency — and that was before Tyvon Branch and Michael Griffin were franchised-tagged this week — making April's draft the most likely avenue they'll walk for a fixture opposite free safety Eric Weddle.

    Harrison Smith, no relation, has a huge fan in the Chargers GM, people familiar with his thinking say. The Notre Dame captain is widely considered the second-best strong safety in the 2012 class behind Alabama's Mark Barron.

    With San Diego's safety carousel spinning for years, Steve Gregory has been the man caught in the middle.

    Gregory is viewed within the organization as a strong substitute — and to his credit, the veteran has been an emergency rip cord, bailing it out when a Plan A has faltered.

    Gregory joined the Chargers in 2006 as an undrafted rookie free agent and, in the past four seasons, has started 31 games. A career-high 13 came last year after Sanders was lost to a season-ending knee injury in Week 2.

    But watching others ride a carousel can become dizzying , especially when not allowed a turn on the horse.

    Gregory will test free agency, which begins Tuesday, for a starting job. The Chargers have kept the door open for Gregory to return to his role as a situational reserve and special teamer, but for now, the Chargers get to be Gregory’s Plan B.

    Agent David Canter said there is "tremendous amount of interest" in his client.

    "I think he's a starter at strong safety in the National Football League, as do a lot of other teams," Canter said. "He's going to get his opportunity. Obviously where and when that happens, we'll find out in the next couple weeks."

    Sanders will also become an unrestricted free agent. If he attempts another comeback, the opportunity is expected to lie outside San Diego.

    Inside, the Chargers have no player ready to step in as their next strong safety.

    So, nine years later, here they are, doing as they have done.

    Search for Harrison's replacement.

    One who, they hope, this time will last.
     
  2. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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  3. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Gesundheit.
     
  4. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    If Harrison Smith is available in the second I get the feeling he's a Charger end of story. Get him and Perry/Ingram/etc in the first two rounds and I'd call that a good start to the draft.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    I could live with that. 91 tackles, 7INTs, good size and decent speed, and lets face it our SS position is dead on the ground right now so he can only be an upgrade.

    And also I don't think its unlikely at all that Mark Barron is still on the board at 50.

    If we felt like waiting a little longer, I'm starting to like this kid Kelcie McCray from Arkansas State.
     
  6. mettadown

    mettadown BoltTalker

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    Colts just released Melvin Bullitt, what about taking a run at him?
     

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