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Inside Slant - 03/07/08

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm" target="_blank">USA Today</a>
    <p class="inside-copy"><img src="http://i2.chargers.com/assets/213/38015_600w600h.jpg" alt="Philip Rivers" align="right" height="226" width="198" /> Philip Rivers is fired up and ready to go - even if it's only March.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Rivers will steal a Barack Obama speech staple when referring to his mending right knee. Although Rivers has many months of rehabilitation in front of him, he's determined not to be gimpy when training camp arrives.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "I would be totally shocked if I'm not ready for training camp," said Rivers, who is spending part of his offseason with his parents in Alabama. "Obviously I will be wearing a brace on that knee all year long. Other than the brace, if you come to watch practice the first day of training camp, this is my opinion: I'd be shocked if you could say. "Aw, he looks a little off, he looks a little different.'</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "So I expect to be rolling at training camp."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The Chargers' rock behind center the past two seasons had his torn ACL repaired soon after the loss in the AFC Championship Game to the Patriots. Rivers injured it the previous week in the playoff upset of the Colts, but was determined to play with a Super Bowl invitation at stake.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> He underwent an arthroscopic surgery to clean out the loose cartilage and played in the game six days later.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Rivers' gutsy performance entrenched him further as a leader among Chargers. While the team fell short in advancing to its second Super Bowl, Rivers' reputation as a hard-nosed player grew.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "He was the toughest guy out there," center Nick Hardwick said. "He was playing with a torn ACL."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> That, though, is in the past to Rivers. His present and future revolves on getting his knee right healthy. He has been doing various exercises to build it back up and getting in the pool to start swimming is next on the agenda.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> If all goes right, Rivers could be jogging by the end of the month.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "Medically, I'm told it's fine and that he's going to be OK," general manager A.J. Smith said. "I'm very pleased with what they're telling me."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> But just in case, the Chargers had extra incentive to bring back No. 2 quarterback Billy Volek. Despite being a free agent and having the chance to compete for a starting job, Volek returned to the Chargers.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Rivers also has some catching up to do. Of the four quarterbacks taken in the first round in 2004, two of them have won Super Bowls: The Giants' Eli Manning and the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> But Smith is confident Rivers will some day get his.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "I hope four or five years from now our guy is not the only one (without a ring)."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Added Rivers: "You're measured ultimately when you career is over."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> That's why he can't wait to get started in 2008 - his knee willing.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- QB Philip Rivers' dad, Steve, had his college career cut short by the same injury - a torn ACL - that is son is bouncing back from this offseason. But there's a big difference. "I've got a little tiny scar about two inches, maybe a little longer, and he's got one on the inside of the knee that's kind of a horseshoe shape," Philip Rivers said. "It's amazing what the difference is."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- GM A.J. Smith was upbeat QB Billy Volek stayed put despite his status as an unrestricted free agent. "Billy is an experienced, talented player and has been with us the last two years and is very comfortable with our system," Smith said. "We're just very excited that he'll continue to be a Charger."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- The Chargers will have 20 starters returning from a team that advanced to the AFC Championship Game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- DE Luis Castillo has joined the Bears' Tommie Harris and the Panthers' Mike Rucker on a week-long tour to tour U.S. military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- Nebraska T Carl Nicks' stock likely rose at the Combine when he ran a 5.12-second 40-yard dash. Not bad for someone going 6-feet-4, 341 pounds. Some think the Chargers could snag Nicks with their first-round pick. Nicks also bench-pressed 225 pounds 31 times.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>QUOTE TO NOTE:</strong> "I don't remember what the NFL was like before Brett Favre. I always admired his toughness and love of the game. He's definitely my all-time favorite. I just wish I could've said I was 1-0 against him." - QB Philip Rivers on Favre retiring; Rivers lost to Favre last season in the only time the two were matched in a game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">TRANSITION PLAYER: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB Tyronne Gross (not tendered as ERFA).</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-K Dave Rayner (not tendered as RFA) was brought in to cover for Nate Kaeding on kickoffs as Kaeding was kicking with a broken left leg. Rayner isn't in the picture, unless for being a training camp leg as Kaeding is expected to recover and resume the kickoff chores.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Marques Harris (tendered at $1.417M with 2nd-round pick as compensation) played in 15 games last year and started twice. He had 1.5 sacks while supplying depth behind Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RT Jeromey Clary stepped in and started the final six games, including all three in the playoffs. When Shane Olivea's play became inconsistent, Clary stepped in and the line had some of its best games of the season. He'll be back.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Malcom Floyd is probably not coming back as it seems his window of opportunity with the club has expired. He had a hard time being active on Sundays and with Craig Davis, Chris Chambers and Eric Parker expected back next year, Floyd will likely to be elsewhere.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-CB Cletis Gordon saw some action in occasional dime packages with mixed results. But with Florence going and Gordon able to return punts in a pinch, he'll probably stay.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-CB Steve Gregory doesn't figure strongly into their plans; hard to say his status.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DT Brandon McKinney had some decent spurts when filling in in the rotation of Jamal Williams, Ryon Bingham and himself. Considering Williams' age and health status, McKinney should be back.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYERS ACQUIRED</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Derek Smith: FA 49ers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYERS RE-SIGNED</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-G Scott Mruczkowski: Potential RFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-QB Billy Volek: UFA; $9M/3 yrs, $3M SB.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYERS LOST</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-CB Drayton Florence: UFA Jaguars; $36M/6 yrs, $12M SB.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-S Marlon McCree (released).</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-FB Lorenzo Neal (released).</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OT Shane Olivea (released).</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB Michael Turner: UFA Falcons; $34.5M/6 yrs, $15M guaranteed.</p>
     

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