But instead of simply moving Zeke Moreno, his backup, into his spot, it appears Donnie Edwards will be on the outside this upcoming season.
Edwards wouldn't talk about it, but Moreno said this past week he wasn't certain where he would get a chance to vie for a starting job, starting with the team's minicamp which is five weeks away.
"I'm not sure where I'll be," said Moreno, who's been Seau's backup at weakside linebacker the past two years. "It doesn't matter; I just want to compete."
It should be a grand competition at middle linebacker, the area Edwards hung out in last year when leading the Chargers with 129 tackles.
Moreno's stock rose last year when he got three starts for the injured Seau, and finished the year with 32 tackles. Moreno has that intangible that allows him to be around the ball just about no matter where it is on the field. But the middle linebacking job won't be handed to Moreno. Standing in his path is Carlos Polk, a hard-nosed player entering his third year out of Nebraska. Polk hasn't been able to see much action in the base defense, but he's been a spark plug on special teams -- he was voted by his teammates that unit's most valuable player with 13 tackles.
The competition between Moreno and Polk promises to be among the most lively on that side of the ball.
Ben Leber, who made most the All-Rookie teams with his play last year, should fill out the trio of starters.
No matter how they line up, it'll be different seeing a Chargers linebacking corps without No. 55. Edwards said he won't mind the additional leadership duties, but stressed he's no Seau.
"There's one difference: Junior Seau has been a staple of San Diego," Edwards said. "Not only for the Chargers, but the city.
"I am not replacing Junior Seau. I would never be able to replace a Hall of Famer like that -- there is no way. Anyone who says that, I'm squashing that right now."
Of course, coach Marty Schottenheimer could throw everyone a curve ball and mix up his linebackers once again. In the time leading up to the 2002 season, everyone thought Edwards would play the strongside -- where he was stationed for most of his time in Kansas City -- Seau would man the weakside spot and Orlando Ruff would be the middle linebacker for the third straight year.
But in his quest to increase team speed, Schottenheimer by-passed Ruff, plopped Edwards in the middle and inserted the rookie Leber into the starting lineup.
That's why despite the indicators that Edwards is out as the middle linebacker, one never knows for sure with Schottenheimer until the players trot out to their positions.
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