The Massachusetts Factor

Boston, Massachusetts, a great place to catch a ball game, but it is not relevant to this weekend's game between the San Diego Chargers and the Baltimore Ravens. <br><br> What is relevant is the health of David Boston and the fans firsthand look at this specimen at Qualcomm.

David Boston remains listed as questionable for Sunday's contest against Baltimore with a bruised heel. On Friday, Marty Schottenheimer said he appeared set to go for Sunday. He practiced three days this week and the Bolts, along with their fans, are ready for the tea party to begin.

Oddly enough, the Ravens may be just as interested in the return of Boston. Sure they want to limit the effect Boston has on the game, but the Ravens were originally in the Boston hunt, that is, until he cancelled his trip east and signed with the Chargers.

"We had some sincere interest in David," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "We felt like he was a young player that was ascending. We felt like if we could get him into our environment that we could help him become the player he wanted to be. Obviously dealing with free agency, sometimes they don't make it to your building."

Until the Chargers came out with some intriguing numbers, Boston had every intention of making the trip to Baltimore, and had it played out that way, Boston would be making his debut at the Q as a Raven. A $47 million dollar deal said enough to keep him in San Diego.

"We had a contract that was maybe equal in value, but the money wasn't as guaranteed as it was from San Diego's standpoint," Newsome said.

Boston, until his injury in 2002, has been considered among the elite young receivers in the league. Always an enigma, this year he is even more so. Chargers fans thought they were getting the same man Cardinals defensive line coach Joe Greene, a Hall of Fame defensive tackle, said, "could have the world by its tail if he lives to see age 30."

"I don't think I am mysterious," Boston said. "I think I do a lot of things different than a lot of people. Any time you take on a different training regimen or pretty much do things a little bit different than most people, there is going to be a little question... people say a little bit mysterious."

Boston has found himself amid controversy week after week and his struggles to remain healthy have people questioning whether he is more interested in bodybuilding or football. At 6'2, 245 pounds, those comparisons are not far off. Some are already questioning whether Boston is a bust, just two games into his San Diego career.

Newsome dismissed the notion that this gifted receiver isn't working out in San Diego. "It's really premature to sit here and even think we're lucky that we didn't get David Boston," Newsome said. "No way. I don't think I'm that good or my peers are that good to determine that based on what he has done in two weeks."

His chance to shine is this weekend in the friendly confines of Qualcomm. With Chris McAlister out, Boston may find room in the secondary. At the very least, he should open up soft spots for Eric Parker and Tim Dwight.

Having played just one game for the Bolts, it is way too early to call Boston a bust. There is a lot of football to play and Boston still has a chance to endear himself to the fans in the weeks to come. It all starts Sunday.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

Aaron Wilson contributed to this report

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