Chargers Around the World

In case you missed it, the San Diego Chargers are sending scouts around the world, literally. College Bowls will begin later this month and the Bolts will be active. They have secured one of the top picks in the 2004 NFL Draft, but news from afar has the scouts working overtime and overseas.

The Chargers sent a scout to England to specifically scout Jonny Wilkinson, an English Rugby hero.

Wilkinson, 24, who scored the winning "drop goal" in England's World Cup final clash against Australia, is being courted for his ability to kick with pinpoint accuracy and calm demeanor under pressure. San Diego sent a scout to the final in Sydney.

"We have heard from a couple of sources that he is intrigued by the NFL game," a NFL Europe spokesman told us.

According to reports, England captain Martin Johnson has been asked to try to set up a meeting.

"If Jonny agrees we'll pull out all the stops," said NFL Europe spokesman David Tossell. "Jonny has a calm head under extreme pressure as he showed in the World Cup final. Huge teams want that and will fight over him because they don't want to miss out."

Wilkinson would have to make the transition in kicking style, but most don't see that being a problem.

A reporter in England was able to gather this from the kicker:

"I keep an eye on what is going on in the NFL and I know some rugby players have looked at making the swap. It's quite an exciting prospect."

Considering his recent fame, Wilkinson is unlikely to move stateside. He will earn money in endorsements after his recent heroics that would rival anything the Chargers could sell.

There is talk that he may be interested in a lucrative career in the NFL years down the road.

What is interesting in all of this is the Chargers eye on a kicker. Mackenzie Hoambrecker whittles away on the practice squad while Steve Christie continues to kick. A solid kicker will prove the difference between a win and a loss, one to three games per year. The Chargers have already lost their allotment with Christie in the lineup.

It is clear they need an upgrade and despite recent Marty Schottenheimer comments in support of Christie, the team is on the prowl. Oddly enough they only have to look in their own backyard.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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