Chargers allocate four to NFL Europe

The San Diego Chargers have assigned four players to NFL Europe training camp for the upcoming season, including a player they signed on Tuesday.

The Chargers signed tight end T.J. Cottrell on Tuesday and immediately assigned him to NFL Europe. Joining Cottrell will be quarterback Brett Elliott, cornerback Gabe Franklin, and linebacker Kurt Kahui.

Cottrell was originally signed by the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent out of Buffalo State. Cottrell caught 69 balls for 787 yards and seven touchdowns over four collegiate seasons but has never played in the NFL.

Cottrell, whose father is defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, was allocated to NFL Europe in 2005 and was the subject of an altercation.

As told by Tim Yotter of Viking Update here are the events that transpired:

He started the season with the Frankfurt Galaxy and more recently started playing with the Rhein Fire. That switch in teams, and T.J.'s disposition to be a peacemaker, cost him dearly.

Before the season began, the staff of the Rhein Fire warned their players about the bars and clubs that were off-limits – places that could become far rougher than any football field. Because T.J. joined the Fire after their season began, he didn't receive that speech.

So when an unsuspecting T.J., who attended Vikings spring and summer camps last year as a tight end, and a teammate ended up at one of the off-limits bars, T.J. saw trouble coming and wanted to avoid it, according to his father.

As T.J. was trying to escort his teammate out of the bar, the teammate turned and spit at the bouncer, Ted said. T.J. grabbed the teammate to take him out of the bar and the teammate ran back into the club and punched the bouncer.

"Now these guys come out with billy clubs and baseball bats, and T.J. looks around and says, ‘What's going on?' Everybody else is running," Ted said. "This is one of those Turkish mafia places – a bad, bad place. It's been off-limits for 10 years."

Unfortunately, T.J. never got that message from the Rhein Fire. Instead, he took a beating.

"He got whacked on the face," Ted said of his son as the father's voice grew somber. "He's got a fractured cheek bone and some small facial bones broken on his right side. He needs surgery. Hopefully they will fly him back here to the United States in the next day. I was going to go over there in the next day or so if they don't fly him back. The league said they'd send me over.

"From talking with the trainers, it sounds like he's going to need some plastic surgery."

Fortunately, T.J. suffered no brain damage in the altercation and he will be OK, Ted said.

Better communication would have kept T.J. out of the situation, but if he hadn't been concerned with his teammate he might have escaped without incident. Now, his future is on hold while the Cottrells deal with his recovery.

"He's talking," Ted said. "All the security people that investigated it and every one of the eyewitnesses said the same thing: He was being Charlie Good Guy, being a peacemaker.

"Bad things happen to good people."

Elliott was in training camp with the Chargers in 2006, was released on the final cutdown and signed to the practice squad the next day. He was released again on September 26 when Aaron Shea was put on injured reserve and Kelly Griffeth was signed to the practice squad. Elliott was signed to a future contract in January.

Franklin was originally signed by the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2005. He was released on the final cutdown. Franklin moved on to spend the 2006 training camp with San Francisco before being signed to the Chargers practice squad on October 11.

Kahui, a San Diego State alumni, was signed to the Chargers practice squad in December.


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