Chargers OL Kenny Wiggins hoping for a silent Saturday, for once

The offensive lineman is looking to make the active roster out of camp for the first time in his career.

Chargers offensive lineman Kenny Wiggins doesn't mince words.

 

"It's the worst day of the year," he said, shaking his head.

 

"It" is Saturday, the day NFL rosters will be pared down from 75 players (76 for San Diego, as Joey Bosa was a roster exemption earlier this week) to 53 when final camp cuts are made in preparation for the regular season. Having come into the league in 2011, Wiggins knows all too well what that day entails, as he has never made a 53-man roster straight out of camp.

 

Like bubble players across the country, he will pray his phone doesn't ring. A call means bad news.

 

"My last year playing for San Francisco, they waited until 3:55 p.m. and the cut time was 4:00 p.m.," he said. "That was pretty bad. The last couple years, the call has come pretty quick.

 

"Hopefully I don't get one at all this year."

 

There's a good chance Wiggins makes the team. Last year, he was cut out of camp but signed by the Chargers in the second week of the season, after an injury to guard D.J. Fluker. He remained with the team through the end of the season, showing his value at left and right guard -- and even at right tackle, at times -- when more injuries left the offensive line depleted.

 

By the end of the season, Wiggins had racked up service time in 15 games, starting eight of them. Prior to last year, the Fresno State alum had only one game under his belt -- and only one snap in that game, on a field goal attempt.

 

"I just want to earn the coach's trust," Wiggins said. "I feel like I did that last year playing so much, and hopefully they think so too. That was my knock -- I didn't have any game experience, because how do you get game experience when they don’t put you in? That's the hard part. But now that I have game experience, I hope that it's a different story."

 

Tight end Sean McGrath can relate. He, too, has never made the active roster out of camp -- "Welcome to the club," he said wryly, when told Wiggins was in the same boat -- and said he approaches this week with "cautious optimism."

 

"The thing that's kind of gotten me through it, being a bubble guy, is just controlling the controllable and not getting too high or too low," McGrath said. "You're hoping for the best but expecting the worst. It's tough, this last week, but it's part of the job.

 

"At the end of the day, if you kind of reconcile with the fact that you put everything on the field and left it there, then it's out of your hands. You can't stress too hard over it. Because any job in this business is a good job. So if you have to pack up your bags and move somewhere else because you got a job, it's still a good day.  You just hope that your phone doesn't ring, because no news is good news."

 

McGrath and Wiggins are familiar with the process by now.  They played in the fourth and final preseason game Thursday night at Qualcomm while starters, already locked into the roster, stood on the sidelines. They'll keep themselves busy Saturday, passing the time and, simply, waiting.

 

But this year, if the call doesn’t come, you can bet there will be celebrating.

 

"It would be a huge deal," Wiggins said.  "A huge deal."

And perhaps, for the first time, not the worst day of the year.


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