Fonoti hurt contract negotiations?

The offseason agenda of A.J. Smith has been clear. Lock up the cogs that will make the San Diego Chargers run smoothly over the next several years. Left guard Toniu Fonoti was thought to be one of those players but missing the first day of minicamp - after similarly missing the first day of training camp last year - may have put contract extension talk on hold.

Left guard Toniu Fonoti was two-for-three at the recent minicamp weekend. Of the three practice days, he made the final two - but did not practice.

Fonoti stiffed the Chargers and his teammates, surprisingly every by not showing up for last week's first two practices.

"I had a personal issue to take care of," Fonoti said.

Hey, so do lots of folks. But they usually check with their bosses before skipping work. And Fonoti didn't bother to give either coach Marty Schottenheimer or general manager A. J. Smith a head's up phone call.

Whatever - maybe his cell phone was out. But Fonoti's absence cost him $9,300 in a club fine. And it could cost him more.

Fonoti's contract expires at the end of the year, and one thing Smith has proved is he's not against rewarding his own. He's reworked linebacker Steve Foley; took care of defensive tackle Jamal Williams before a walk year.

So Smith will likely consider Fonoti's carefree approach when deciding whether to offer a long-term deal.

Fonoti also didn't attend last summer's minicamp. Instead, he was training in a Houston weight clinic trying to avoid the 400-pound mark.

Smith shrugged at the minicamp about Fonoti. But it's obvious he wasn't pleased with Fonoti's act, especially when he wasn't able to practice with an ankle injury.

Schottenheimer did appluad the big man for standing up in front of his teammates and apologizing for letting them down.

"He stood up and apologized to his teammates and said he regretted that he was tardy and hoped they would appreciate the situation."

How far that goes remains to be seen.


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