Chargers Roundup

The reigning MVP continues to be his team's highest paid cheerleader. The Chargers seek help footing that bill, asking a former player to return $4 million in signing bonus money. Shawne Merriman wants to start hitting now, while Dean Spanos already has his eyes on the playoffs. Catch up on all of this and more in this edition of the Chargers roundup.


--Don't expect NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson to get a carry in the four preseason games; he didn't have any last summer and the season worked out just fine. "Exhibition games, I just eat a lot of sunflower seeds," he said.

--Coach Norv Turner is being cautious with OLB Shawne Merriman as he nurses a sore shoulder back to health. Turner didn't see any reason for Merriman to play in the preseason opener. Merriman disagrees. "There is a reason," Merriman said. "I've got to hit somebody."

--Among the fresh faces on the Chargers' coaching staff is Ron Rivera. Last year's defensive coordinator for the Bears is getting his first coaching experience in a 3-4 alignment. But it's not strange to the former Bears linebacker.

"I played in this system," he said. "This is one of the Buddy Ryan systems. In terms of learning it, understanding it and getting a grip on it, I don't think it's really as difficult as people think it could have been."

--The Chargers are trying to claim $4 million from LB Steve Foley in funds paid to him as a signing bonus. Foley suffered a career-ending gunshot wound in September in an altercation with an off-duty policeman.

--Team president Dean Spanos is happy with the way things have shaken out in the wake of firing coach Marty Schottenheimer after last season's playoff loss. "Obviously it was an extremely disappointing end to our season last year, losing that first playoff game, and then obviously the next 30 days was a huge change for us, OK?" he said. "We got by it. I like the change. Since then it's been business as usual."

--Darren Sproles would get the first look as the team's kickoff and punt returner. He was to handle the chores in the first preseason game. Rookie Craig Davis will get his shot in the second preseason game.

--With ILB Matt Wilhelm ailing, that not only moves Tim Dobbins up the depth chart, but undrafted free agent Nick Roach as well. Roach will play behind Dobbins.

--The Chargers held a light practice at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm not really focused on the record. And I don't think the team is too. Let's just get back and win that first game in the playoffs and see where we go from there." -- Spanos on what he expects this season.

INJURY REPORT: Parker (toe) is out for nine weeks after surgery...Wilhelm (calf) is out anywhere from two-to-four weeks...DE Igor Olshansky (groin) has been missing practice time... OLB Shawne Merriman (neck) is being slowed and could miss the preseason opener.

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