AFC West Report: Preparing for Training Camps

It won't be long now for the AFC West to see some fireworks, training camps are almost ready to open and footballs will be flying in the air once again. But the question of the moment is who will be there when it starts and who will not?

Rookies on both the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers will report next Monday July 25th with veterans coming in three days later. The Chiefs will report on July 28th and the Denver Broncos a day after that.

The biggest question going into camp for all of the AFC West teams is how long the Shawne Merriman holdout will last? Fans are clearly unhappy with Kevin Poston, Merriman's agent. Missing mini camp on the risk that one would be injured without a contract has a feeling of uneasiness with the Charger fan base, management, the San Diego media and most importantly his teammates.

In fact LaDainian Tomlinson was shocked at the idea that a rookie could show up for a meeting and then refuse to work out. Tomlinson paused for about ninety seconds with a look of disbelief on his face when he figured what Merriman was doing and the disruption he's causing on a team that's trying to defend their AFC West title from a year ago. Linebacker Steve Foley has also called out Merriman for his lack of commitment.

The Poston's are infamous with their draft picks that like to hold out to avoid injury. The brothers were also the agent of Kellen Winslow Jr. who took a hit in the pocket book from the Cleveland Browns after suffering an injury at the hands of a motorcycle violating a cause in the contract.

Dallas Cowboy's Head coach Bill Parcells made a comment along the lines that he doesn't have time for thugs and hoodlums when he was asked about drafting Demarcus Ware a pick earlier than Merriman, speculating that Merriman's agent would be in line for a long holdout.

On the positive note the Chargers have signed all three of their lineman that hope to add some needed depth to the line. Since 1990 the Chargers have had only eight first-round picks. Only two of those eight have had no problems negotiating before the beginning of camp and haven't been deemed a holdout.

Charles Woodson and the Raiders have not yet negotiated his deal as he was tagged by Oakland as their franchise player. Woodson has signed his tender sheet and will report to camp once it opens, unlike a possible holdout by key players like John Abraham or Shaun Alexander.

After a long season all the teams in the west are in apparent good health. Bumps and bruises will come along as practices begin to mount up. There are still a lot of big name players who are unsigned free agents so moves are still be expected to be made as teams are always looking to improve their rosters before the start of the regular season.

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