The Chargers held their first day of mandatory minicamp Tuesday, and while drills, plays, passes and runs were executed for about two hours, it was what happened afterward that stole the show.
Safety Eric Weddle, who has been absent from voluntary OTAs due to a contract dispute, addressed the media for the first time about the inaccuracies surrounding his contract situation.
It seems 2015 will be his final year as a Charger.
Standing at the podium, Weddle read from his cell phone, where he had typed a prepared statement:
“My agent, David [Canter] and I spent the past two years expressing my goal to remain part of the San Diego Chargers beyond 2015. Honestly, nothing would make me happier than to retire a Charger. Despite our attempt to discuss an extension on multiple occasions, unfortunately our desire has not been mutual.
Contrary to what has recently been said by upper management, there has never been any financial numbers discussed, and the Chargers have never put an offer on the table for us to consider.
It’s obvious I’m not part of this organization’s long-term plan. The NFL is a business and I can accept that; I just wish the organization had been upfront with me from day one.”
A few weeks ago, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco told Mighty1090.com that the two had talked “multiple times” – something Weddle maintains did not happen – and that financially, the organization could not meet the expectations that would come with an extension for a player of his caliber (he's already one of the highest-paid safeties in the league). Weddle said there was never any talk regarding numbers and that he was never given the option to accept less pay, which he said he would be open to discussing.
Instead, he and his agent were told he is "getting up there in age" and has "played a lot of plays."
Weddle, 30, has played an average of 937 snaps during the regular season since 2008. He has played special teams in addition to his starting role on defense, and he has been instrumental in making the secondary (which has been a revolving door of mostly young players the past five years) into a cohesive unit.
He has been named first or second-team All Pro the past five years – (the only safety in the NFL to do so) – and is in the final year of his five-year, $40 million contract. He is scheduled to make $7.5 million this season.
When asked if he would consider signing a new contract after the season ended (should the Chargers want him back), Weddle gave a definitive “no.“
“From a contract standpoint, if we do not have a multi-year contract before training camp begins, I have instructed my agent to not speak with the Chargers again,” Weddle said. “I will give this team everything I have this year and enter free agency in 2016.”
SDSuperChargers.com beat writer Annie Heilbrunn has been covering the Chargers since 2009. You can follow her on Twitter at @annieheilbrunn or email her at email@example.com.