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Inside Slant - 04/11/08

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://http//www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm" target="_blank">USA Today</a>
    <div class="inside-copy"><img class="alignright" style="float: right;" src="http://chargers.com/assets/213/38004_450w380h.jpg" alt="Clinton Hart" width="177" height="212" /> Clinton Hart showed he had plenty of heart last year as a key component of the Chargers' stingy defense. Now he can show a new five-year contract as well. Hart, thrust into the starting role last year, solidified his status with the club after being awarded the deal.</div>
    <p class="inside-copy">"We are happy to have Clinton as part of our future," general manager A. J. Smith said. "He was a first-year starter last year and was a major part of our team's success. We believe his best football is ahead of him."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Hart has showed progress since arriving from Philadelphia three seasons ago after being cut loose by the Eagles. He played hard on special teams, did well is spot situations as a backup safety then started running with the first unit last season after the Chargers cut previous starter Terrence Kiel.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "I've put in a lot of hard work," Hart said. "I feel blessed and I'm happy to be part of the Charges for a few more years so we can make that run at a world championship."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">In five seasons, Hart has seen action in 78 regular-season games, which includes 31 starts. But his contributions don't start and end on the playing field.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">He's become a team leader in the clubhouse, a calming voice for a secondary which includes youthful cornerback Antonio Cromartie and safety Eric Weddle.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">But Hart was more than just talk. His 109 tackles were third-best among the AFC West champion Chargers, trailing only linebackers Stephen Cooper and Matt Wilhelm.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Hart's new pact will run through the 2012 season.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-By all accounts, QB Philip Rivers' rehabilitation from his major knee surgery this offseason is on track. But the Chargers, at Rivers' request, aren't allowing any video to be shot of him running at the team's offseason workouts.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Shaun Phillips has even more motivation to add to his sack total this year. Phillips, who was second among Chargers with 8.5 sacks will donate $1,000 for each sack in '08 to the After-School All-Stars sports program for San Diego's inner city youth.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"They provide kids with opportunities to learn the principles of teamwork and discipline just like I did when I was a kid," Phillips said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers' minicamp will be held May 3-4 at Chargers Park. There will be two sessions on May 3, and one the following day.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Want to go on the ultimate Chargers road trip? The club is offering packages to fans wanting to be in London on Oct. 26 at Wembley Stadium. The cost ranges from $3,900-4,500 per person.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>QUOTE TO NOTE:</strong> "A lot of people were waiting to see if I could get it done." - S Clinton Hart, who was awarded a five-year contract extension after playing well in 2007, his first season as an NFL starter.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">TEAM NEEDS/OFFSEASON STRATEGY</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers don't need much, the benefit of having a youthful team that advanced to the AFC Championship Game. Still, every team needs something and that includes the Chargers.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">With backup running back Michael Turner fleeing to the Falcons as a free agent, the Chargers need someone to caddy for LaDainian Tomlinson. The Chargers have Andrew Pinnock in the backfield now, but he is seen more as a fullback.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">So the Chargers could go in that direction in the draft at some point.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">They also need to look hard at both lines - on the interior on the defensive side and at the tackles on the offensive side.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers also must decide if they want to package some later draft picks or future ones to have more play on the draft's first day. As of now, the team has but one pick in the first three rounds.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">They burned their second-round pick when trading for wide receiver Chris Chambers last year. Their third-rounder was part of the package to move up last year to draft safety Eric Weddle in the second round.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">1. Running back: The Chargers got spoiled with Turner, who would have been starting on many teams that didn't include an MVP in Tomlinson. But the Chargers don't figure to spend their first-round pick here.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">2. Defensive tackle: Jamal Williams is a Pro Bowler and a complete stud in the middle of the team's 3-4 alignment. But after 10 years in the NFL, his body is starting to show its age. The Chargers have two decent backups in Ryon Bingham and Brandon McKinney, but they could definitely upgrade there.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">3. Tackle: Shane Olivea was a former starter who was let go and the job has been turned over to Jeromey Clary, who graded well when taking over for Olivea last year. But the team seeks something more here.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">MEDICAL WATCH: C Nick Hardwick (toe) might miss the start of the season after undergoing surgery March 14.</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">RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.</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">-OT Jeromey Clary: ERFA; terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Malcom Floyd: ERFA; terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-CB Cletis Gordon: ERFA; terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-CB Steve Gregory: ERFA; terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Marques Harris: RFA; tendered at $1.47M; terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DT Brandon McKinney: ERFA; terms unknown.</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">-K Dave Rayner: Not tendered as RFA/Dolphins; terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB Michael Turner: UFA Falcons; $34.5M/6 yrs, $15M guaranteed.</p>

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