Chargers Vets Feel the Pinch

The early word has put Vaughn Parker on the outs with the San Diego Chargers as they have asked him to take a pay cut he is not willing to. Thus the team will grant him his release. With injuries trampling the offensive line a year ago, this area is a priority. Other prospective free agents on the line may or may not be back with the club. Here is the latest on three other linemen and one defender:

Among those on the offensive line that are in limbo include Kelvin Garmon, Bob Hallen, Michael Keathley and a host of others.

Garmon has proved to be a solid run blocker, but his pass protection has always been in question. The return of a healthy Toniu Fonoti and the play of Phil Bogle could spell the exit of Garmon.

Not so fast say the Chargers.

"They want to re-sign him, but haven't made a lot of progress," Drew Pittman says of his client.

Four days remain until unrestricted free agency hits for Garmon. Where do we go from here?

"Our stance is we are going to see what is out there and keep the door open to San Diego," Pittman responds. "Kelvin likes San Diego, likes playing for Hud (Hudson Houck). Sometimes it is a match."

"We will see what happens next week."

Then there is the situation with restricted free agent Michael Keathley and unrestricted free agent Bob Hallen, both represented by Cliff Brady.

The word from his office is the same on both players: They are getting interest from other teams. The Chargers have not talked to him about it.

With so many not expected back is it time to panic?

Not quite, there is a caveat with Keathley and Hallen. Although the team has yet to contact their agent, there is still time before free agency officially begins and the Brady clan admits that the Titans haven't talked to him about Justin McCareins and the Colts have not spoke to him about Ryan Diem.

Ray Lee Johnson, who many think is targeted for departure, may actually stay aboard. The details are being worked out with his agent, Bradley Bank, but the ultimate decision will lie with the 11 year veteran.

Bradley termed the restructuring of Johnson's contract, "Borderline fair."

The proposal comes in under what Johnson is looking for and it whether the Chargers are willing to up it will be the determining factor.

Blank is, however, under no illusions about what will happen.

"If they don't get it resolved by next week it, he will be released."

Johnson is slated to make $5.1 million in '04 and the Bolts are attempting to file that down to the $1 million dollar range. Odds are he will be released, but a return at some point down the road is not out of the question.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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