Homecoming

The San Diego Chargers are coming home and the players could not be happier. They have been away from Qualcomm Stadium for seven weeks. It marks the longest span between home games for an NFL team since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Gametime is 1:05 PM PST.

This Sunday will be Alumni and Hall of Fame Day at Qualcomm Stadium and the Chargers will induct defensive tackle Louie Kelcher into the Chargers' Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will take place at halftime of the game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts will be in attendance Sunday to introduce Kelcher. Kelcher becomes the 31st member of the team's Hall of Fame.

Kelcher played nine seasons in San Diego from 1975-83. He was a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-NFL selection. Kelcher finished his Chargers tenure with 577 tackles and 39 sacks.

Along with the induction ceremony comes the first Chargers home game since September 21st.

"It has been really difficult (being away from home) with the fires," said Donnie Edwards. "It has been very demanding psychologically for a lot of our teammates and even last week having to go early on Wednesday to Illinois to practice and being away from home with the fires still raging.

"We like routine. We like to know the routine of the week."

Football players in general like to know where they will be from week to week. The Chargers have already seen a Monday night game against Miami be jettisoned to Arizona and the following week they practiced in Champaign, Illinois when the air quality in and around San Diego was terrible. Now they finally come home and have practiced here all week.

"We know we are playing at Qualcomm this week and it has been a long time since we played at Qualcomm," Edwards said. "It seems like it has been a couple months since we have been at home. It is going to be fun for us to get back home and play."

At 1-7 the comforts of home will be a nice addition to their routine. A home cooked meal, their favorite restaurant; whatever gets them up for the game.

"I think it has helped us come closer as a team," Edwards said. "The way our season has been going, we hope that carries over onto the field."

Training camp in Carson was supposed to bring the team closer too. The team is hoping for better results in the wake of the fires that destroyed much of San Diego County.

Sunday's game at Qualcomm Stadium will be just the ninth-ever regular season meeting between the Chargers and Vikings. The series is tied 4-4.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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