News and Notes from the Chargers first full-squad voluntary workout of 2015:
– Rivers present – As expected, quarterback Philip Rivers was in attendance for the Chargers first full-squad workout. Despite uncertainty about his future with the team and the offseason rumors about a possible trade, Rivers was in—to no one’s surprise—good spirits as he addressed the media for the first time since December:
“For me, I could have tried to say something and have an answer every other day and it goes on forever so I chose, for the most part, just to stay quiet. Let it all play out. Like I’ve hoped from early on this offseason, that I was going to be the quarterback for the Chargers this season and all signs point to that going to be the case so I’m looking forward to it.”
Rivers said there was nothing new to report as far as discussions with the team regarding his contract beyond this season. While a deal could still be reached before the start of the season, he also said he had “no expectations at this point” but would be “fired up” if he stayed in San Diego long term.
– Wedde absent – Also as expected, All-Pro safety Eric Weddle was not in attendance for the start of OTAs. Like Rivers, Weddle remains under contract for 2015, but has been vocal this offseason about his displeasure with the team for not having secured a new deal.
Head Coach Mike McCoy told reporters on Tuesday that he wants every player in attendance but—to no one’s surprise—wouldn’t comment further. Rivers was more a bit more forthcoming on the absence of his fellow captain:
“It isn’t the first day he hasn’t been here so I think it’s settled in a little bit. It wasn’t shocking not to see him. I missed the back and fourth out there today, that’s for sure. Just a little bit of the banter and the competition that he and I have, so I miss that for sure… In an ideal world, you’d love for everybody to be here but, at the same time, it’s the one thing where it’s a game that we play, that we’ve always played, that also has a business element to it. I know for me, even close buddies like Eric or guys that you’re not as close with, I’ve always tried to stay out of that side of it and respect anyone’s choices and decisions that they make along those lines. But I do know this about Eric, I don’t think there’s anybody real worried that he’s not working. That he’s not keeping himself ready to go have another All-Pro year… From that standpoint, at least from my approach, I’m not worried about it.”
– Ingram’s new role – With the departures of veteran outside linebackers Jarret Johnson and Dwight Freeney, a slimmed-down Melvin Ingram is expected to take on a bigger, more vocal role as a leader on defense in 2015:
“I feel like you can’t just wake up and tell yourself you’re going to be a leader or write down some things to be a leader,” Ingram said. “I feel like you have to work yourself into that position and when you work yourself into that position, results will take care of themselves.”
– Verrett’s first OTA – Cornerback Jason Verrett, who missed 10 games as a rookie because of a hamstring injury and a torn labrum in his left shoulder that required surgery, admitted he’s still not at 100 percent but “is at where (he) needs to be at this point.” At this time last year, Verrett was recovering from surgery on his right shoulder–also a labrum tear–and didn’t participate in OTAs.
Asked if it’s important for him to be on the field for OTAs this year, Verrett said, “ Definitely. Last year I (wasn’t) able to play until the fourth preseason game so being able to get my feet wet early and just continue to learn.”
–Andrew Burer (TWITTER: @andrewburer)