Chargers at standstill with their star tight end

The Green Bay Packers are not the only NFL team attempting to reach a contract agreement with their starting tight end. The San Diego Chargers, who visit Green Bay on Thursday night, have not made any progress in their contract talks with Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates.

It is believed Gates is seeking a five-year pact averaging between $4-5 million per season. With Gates out, backup Justin Peelle has been assuming his role. Peelle is usually utilized as a run-blocker.

The Packers and Pro Bowl tight end Bubba Franks are at a standstill in their negotiations as well. Franks is believed to be seeking a deal that averages about $3.5 million per season. The Packers are thought to be offering him about $2.5 million per season.

Packers coach Mike Sherman said he phoned Franks the other day, encouraging him to sign a deal, but Franks remains in Miami working out on his own.

Packers-Chargers notes
Thursday's game is only the second preseason meeting between the Packers and Packers. The teams met in 1980 in the NFL Hall of Game in Canton, Ohio, but the game was stopped due to severe weather conditions with 9:17 left to play in the fourth quarter and the score tied at 0-0. Green Bay, coincidentally, holds a 7-1 edge in regular season play.

The Packers have taken the last four meetings; the Chargers only win was in 1984, a 34-28 decision in San Diego, when Dan Fouts passed for 376 yards (Lynn Dickey had 384 in a losing cause). Kellen Winslow posted 15 catches for 157 yards. Green Bay's Hall of Fame receiver James Lofton, now on San Diego's coaching staff, had 158 yards on five catches.

Merriman sidelined
The Chargers are not expected to play their top draft pick Shawne Merriman, the 12th overall pick of the draft.

"Other than the fact that he will miss more time is the problem," Chargers Coach Marty Schottenheimer said of Merriman, who has a hamstring injury. "He has done fine till now. He has an ability to understand the things."

Merriman signed a five-year deal worth $15 million. He received $9 million in guaranteed money.

The quarterback rotation is set with Drew Brees playing one quarter, Philip Rivers taking quarters two and three, and Cleo Lemon getting the bulk of playing time in the fourth. Craig Ochs could also see some fourth quarter time.

LaDainian Tomlinson probably will sit this one out, according to SD

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