Chargers Minicamp: Houston we have a problem

The San Diego Chargers met for the first day of what is a mandatory minicamp. A big media contingency turned out to watch the new blood mix in with the old. Roman Oben made his first appearance of camp, but the session was marred by the player's not in attendance and several players in camp had something to say about it.

Both Toniu Fonoti and Jason Ball were absent from the affair. While Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer was encouraged to finally hear that there was a reason for Ball not being in camp, he remained steadfast in his stance on the subject.

"He will not resolve the contract issue with his absence," Schottenheimer said.

He went on to comment that he was disappointed that both were not in camp and on Fonoti he expected there to be a fine accompanying his absence.

"Fonoti is in Houston," Schottenheimer said. "He is supposed to be here. I expected him here a couple of days ago.

The reason why Fonoti was in Houston is unclear as Schottenheimer admitted he was playing phone tag with his agent, Carl Poston.

"I coach the ones that are here," the coach said.

Philip Rivers expressed concern over the absence of Ball, but admitted it was different for him. He has never had the opportunity to work exclusively with the center.

"I am concerned," Rivers said. "But it is different for me. I don't really know him. Both (Fonoti and Ball) are good players and can contribute."

Roman Oben was in town and took things a little slow. It was his first day on the job and there is plenty of differences between what Tampa ran and what the Chargers do. So he is a tad behind the learning curve.

Oben lined up exclusively at left tackle as Courtney Van Buren slid over to the right side.

LaDainian Tomlinson showed a smile when the subject of Oben came up.

"I saw him power drive a couple guys out there," Tomlinson said of Oben.

While Oben participated today, he will not be here this weekend. He has a prior commitment that will keep him out of town. It is one that he had prior to the trade and certainly a good cause.

Oben will be in Washington D.C. holding his own camp with 400 children ranging in age from 13-18. Schottenheimer deemed it a worthy cause and has excused him from the workouts. Fans hoping to see their new left tackle will now have to wait until training camp.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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