A Bevy of Moves

The San Diego Chargers signed three of their own excusive rights free agents Friday and signed on three more free agents to provide depth through minicamp coming just after the Draft.

Fullback Joey Goodspeed and wide receivers Dondre Gilliam and Eric Parker were re-signed to one-year contracts on Friday.

Parker was slotted in at receiver after Curtis Conway went down with an injury and performed well. Parker joined the team as an un-drafted free agent from the University of Tennessee, after originally being signed by the Houston Texans on April 25, 2002. He was released by the Texans on July 13 before signing with the Chargers.

Parker caught 17 passes for 268 yards (15.8 avg.) and one touchdown while starting two of the nine games he played in as a rookie. Ten of his catches came in his two starts.

"You've got to go out here and play like you're a starving man," Parker said. "I don't want to sound like I don't have anything, because I am living good now in terms of having food to eat and a place to stay. But that has to be your mentality."

"I want to become an improved player between from my first year to my second year. In order to make it to my second year, I've got to go out there and give it my all."

Goodspeed played in 12 games, mostly on special teams. He ranked second on the team with 12 tackles on coverage units behind only linebacker Carlos Polk, who led the Chargers with 13 special teams tackles. Goodspeed is the primary backup to one of the newest Chargers, Lorenzo Neal.

Previously, Goodspeed had stints with Pittsburgh (2000) and New Orleans (2001), but he had not been active for any regular-season NFL games before last season.

Gilliam spent the majority of the 2002 season on the practice squad. He was signed to the active roster twice during the season and saw action in two games, against San Francisco on Nov. 17 and in the season finale versus Seattle on Dec. 29, but did not have any receptions.

Back in training camp 2002 he was the last receiver off the field on most days working with Seth Buford and Dave Dickenson well after the rest of the team left the field. He concentrated on his route running and sideline caches.

Prior to training camp, he spent the 2002 NFL Europe season with the Scottish Claymores, where he was the team's leading receiver. Gilliam also went to training camp with the Chargers in 2001, but was released prior to the start of the regular season.

Linebacker Jude Waddy, wide receiver Tim Baker and quarterback Cleo Lemon were added to the team on Thursday.

Waddy played his first two NFL seasons in Green Bay, where he did, in fact, start eight games in 1999. The former William & Mary star originally joined the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 1998, where he overcame stiff odds to make the active roster out of training camp. He then saw action in 13 games, tallying six special teams tackles, plus two stops and one sack on defense.

In 1999, Waddy became the Packers' starter at weakside linebacker midway through the season after Brian Williams' season was cut short by a knee injury. In 14 games and eight starts, Waddy posted 73 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and a pass defensed. In his first action in place of Williams, against Seattle on November 1, Waddy took over in the third quarter and quickly made six tackles. He did not play in 2000 after being waived in late August.

He had brief stints with Tampa Bay (2001) and Denver (2002) but did not play in any regular-season games with either team.

Waddy, 6-2, 230, also played with the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe in 2002, where he had 32 tackles, two sacks, three passes defensed and five tackles on special teams.

Waddy, who combines good speed and strength with strong tackling skills, is seen as a nickel linebacker candidate, a player adept at dropping into coverage. San Diego hopes he can secure himself a spot in the NFL through consistently special teams play with the occasional role in nickel defenses. Waddy becomes the sixth linebacker on the roster, and with the pending Junior Seau situation could be fifth on the depth chart and stick with the club throughout the season.

Baker, 6-5, 215, also has NFL experience, having spent time with Pittsburgh in 2001 and Carolina in 2002. He saw action in three games as a rookie with the Steelers in 2001. He was released by Carolina prior to the 2002 regular season.

Baker is considered to be a warm body for minicamp. Someone who can run routes and give the other Chargers receivers a rest while providing a nice target for the quarterbacks during drills that need the extra bodies to keep going.

Lemon, 6-2, 215, went to training camp with Baltimore as a rookie free agent in 2002. He also spent time with the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe.

Lemon is also another body for the upcoming camps, especially since Seth Burford is over in Europe playing for the Barcelona Dragons. It is up to Lemon to provide a cushion for Drew Brees and Doug Flutie so they do not overwork themselves, plus keep a nice practice rhythm going.

Neither Lemon, nor Baker is expected to last much longer than training camp. Waddy on the other hand may have a chance to stick if he proves worthy. There will certainly be other undrafted free agents brought in who could take his spot, and look for a late round pick to be a linebacker.

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