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NFL Combine: Day 1

Posted by Christopher Smith on February 23, 2012 – 7:06 AM

8:49 a.m. EST – The media room on the east side of Lucas Oil Stadium is packed with laptops, recorders and bodies, many of whom are discussing plane flights and power strips. We’re still awaiting the arrival of players, which will begin to trickle toward the three podiums in the next few hours.

For us on the West Coast, it’s early. My laptop read 5:15 a.m. when I booted it this morning. It might not help that the only nourishment I had yesterday was a cup of Auntie Anne’s cinnamon sugar nuggets and a steak burger in the Indianapolis airport.

Punters, kickers, offensive line and tight ends will speak at podiums like this one beginning today as more than 700 credentialed media feast themselves.

10:35 a.m. EST – General Manager A.J. Smith talked with Sirius Radio this morning about several topics. Says the team will pursue C Nick Hardwick and will talk to G Kris Dielman about his future when the team returns from the Combine. Also confirms the team is “working our way through” medical issues with Marcus McNeill.

10:44 a.m. EST – Smith also says the team “would love” to have WR Vincent Jackson return. Doesn’t think using the franchise tag is a likely option because of the high price it would require, which would infringe on the Chargers’ other needs.

Smith admitted he “had some issues” with Jackson’s off-field behavior in the past, but “I’m comfortable with where we are now.” Says Jackson’s status with the Chargers likely depends on the market he and his agents feel they can get from other teams. San Diego still wants him at receiver.

General Manager A.J. Smith speaks with Sirius Radio.

 11:19 p.m. EST – Spoke to John Spanos, director of college scouting, in the lobby at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“We want to get better at rushing the passer,” Spanos said. “I think if you look at this year’s draft class, there are a lot of talented pass rushers out there. It’s a pretty deep class.”

We have our first player, South Dakota T Tom Compton.

11:35 a.m. EST – Georgia P Drew Butler can become part of the second father-son NFL kicking specialist combo in history. Butler’s father, Kevin Butler, played 13 seasons for the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals.

The only father-son NFL kickers? No, not the Gramatica family — English place-kickers Bobby and Ian Howfield.

1:39 p.m. EST – San Diego State P Brian Stahovich talked about the difference between a “degrading” 2-10 season as a freshman and winning a combined 17 games his last two years with the Aztecs.

Stahovich also has worked with Chargers P Mike Scifres, who gave him a basic lesson in Australian rules kicking. Says he would love to be in camp with San Diego.

2:28 p.m. EST – All the punters and kickers have come through the media room, along with a few handfuls of offensive linemen. Still, it’s been slow. That usually means a deluge is around the corner.

USC T Matt Kalil predicted current Trojans QB Matt Barkley will win the Heisman in 2012.

 2:48 p.m. EST – Kalil on declaring for the NFL as a junior: “I’ve done all I can at USC. I was All-American. I won the Morris Trophy. It was definitely time for me to move on and take my skills to the next level.”

4:02 p.m. EST – Pittsburgh G Luke Nix: “I used to be missing my two front teeth up until two years ago. My mom made me get false teeth put in. I used to walk around looking like a real football player.” Got them knocked out in a bike accident when he was young.

5:29 p.m. EST – That’s it from Lucas Oil Stadium for today. Kind of a light day. Several prominant offensive linemen did not reach the media room today, so tomorrow should be loaded. The skill players should talk Friday, including SDSU QB Ryan Lindley and RB Ronnie Hillman.

Stay true and keep pounding,

Posted in Combine | 14 Comments »

14 Responses to “NFL Combine: Day 1”

  1. By mickhail patterson on Feb 23, 2012 | Reply

    Why didnt they fire Norv Turner? How do you fire a coach that takes you to a 14-2 season?! I miss you Marty!

  2. By Bill Nussbaum on Feb 23, 2012 | Reply

    Sign him! How many playmakers can we surrender before we turn into an unwatchable team? We gave up Sproles and look what he did as well as Turner and LT! Must be signed! Priority #1!

  3. By don on Feb 23, 2012 | Reply


  4. By Phillip Ballesteros on Feb 23, 2012 | Reply

    Mr. Don I totally agree, Turner hasnt done the best job coaching this team , however san diego STill has a great team, we need younger tight ends n receivers, and AJ SMITH is straight killin us fans and the CHARGERS FOOTBALL TEAM, TURNER DEFINATELY NEEDS TO N SO DOES AJ SMITH, BY THE WAY Mr. Aj Smith UR AN IDIOT IF SAN DIEGO LOOSES TOLBERT ON FREE AGENCY , U LET GO OF TOO MANY PLAYMAKERS MAN THIS IS A STRONG TEAM n WE NEED TOLBERT TO STAY. I SAY SIGN A NEW COACH TRY N SAVE TOLBERT KEEP HIM WITH THE CHARGERS N LET AJ N TURNER GO. Good luck 2012 Go Bolts ! ! ! !

  5. By ROBERT on Feb 23, 2012 | Reply


  6. By Mr. Titan on Feb 23, 2012 | Reply

    Rivers, doesn’t get the time everyone else is getting.. Eli, isn’t that good. But he is getting 4 to 5 sec. to sit back and look at the field. The left tackle we picked up from KC should be the starter. Get rid of McNeil. We can not win without a pass rush. The best team in the NFL last year was the 49er’s. Bar none.. In a close game like the one they were in, using a Rookie that made one mistake was two much !! To put him in too make another was the Coach fault, and they lost…… What sad about the San Diego Chargers is they are a part time winner. Everyone know’s by now, that they will not let go of the big bucks for more then three years!! This is why the Mannings didn’t come too San Diego. Bottom Line..

  7. By B on Feb 23, 2012 | Reply


    Please take serious heed, Smith and the Spanos family. If you do not pay Vincent Jackson in the upcoming year, you will lose a great deal of fans. Gates’ ability has been wavering for the past few years (despite his comeback mid 2011). Mathews continues to improve, but is still in need of improvement to ensure the Chargers a strong running offense (which would have happened, if we would have paid Sproles). With Rivers’ accuracy in jeopordy, and Kaeding’s difficulty at the end of 2010/absence in 2011, its hard for fans to be excited about the team. And, that means a bit less money for the team as a whole.

    Many of the new WRs have been stepping up and filling holes, and have been doing well, but not reliably. This is why we (for the past few years) have put our faith/my faith in Vincent Jackson. He has been the guy we can count on, reliably; even when facing terrible odds. Despite his early faults off the field, he seems eager to reclaim his image as a star athlete and hard worker committed to the team. Although money is an issue for all players, I believe Vincent Jackson has a deep passion for San Diego, the fans and the entire Chargers organization.

    This is why I say, if you let Vincent Jackson go, you not only disappoint fans… you let them go as well.

    Yes, this is a plea. Please keep Jackson.

  8. By jdhughes on Feb 23, 2012 | Reply

    San Diego Sports fans: What was that short stop’s name who left the Padres. Um ah, Smith, something like Ozzie Smith. John Jefferson. Washed up payers like uh, Rodney Harrison, Carney, Turner, even LT. Funny, you get something going then you muck it up. Smal market, small minds…….

    When yo are vacuuming the cellar, you generally get what you pay for.

    I suppose if we just give Spanos et al the City of say, Chula Vista, with a piece of Logan Heights, would they open their wallets? Living up here in San Luis Obispo I see where all YOUR ticket money goes–it’s spent here and in Stockton.

  9. By Alison Foster on Feb 24, 2012 | Reply

    OMG ….What is with all these fair weather fans ???. There is NO loyalty left, not from the fans, nor the front office. I would have thought last year was a wake-up call to the value of Vincent Jackson. I’m tired of my Chargers being the laughing stock of other football fans. What happened to sticking behind your team? Please do the right thing A.J., pay him what is needed to keep him here, and keep the fans here too.

  10. By Alison Foster on Feb 24, 2012 | Reply

    There is NO loyalty left in football, not from the front office, nor the fair weather fans. I would have thought 2010 was a wake-up call to the value of Vincent Jackson. Go ahead and keep Norv, A.J., Tolbert, and Jackson. Improve the defense’s coaching, and we will have our winning team back. I’m so tired of hanging my head in shame of S.D.

  11. By Theresa Clough on Feb 24, 2012 | Reply

    It’s a shame you let the talent you already have go!Vincent Jackson is the best can’t you see that. Me as a Charger fan for 20 years don’t understand how you let go some of the players you had already. I leave in Maryland and people make fun of the chargers all the time say I should be a Raven Fan. But no I say they will be better this year with Jackson, Tolbert and the gang back in the fold so please don’t disapoint your fans with another screw up like with Sproles!

  12. By Sandy Hustede on Mar 1, 2012 | Reply

    I have been a LOYAL fan since 1962. Do you know the ridecule and hurtful comments I have warded off in those years…..EVERY time we get a barn burner player you let them go! What the h_ _ _ is wwrong with you AJ? Tolbert and Jackson shoulld be no question. Sproles and Breese, do I need to go on? I have always been behind my Chargers, thru good times and bad, but you are a jerk! Let’s let go prooven play makers and get kids from college and see if they can get us to the big game…..ya, just like Mathews, sorry he is along way from being an LT or Tolbert. WHY are you not doing your job and keeping a winning group together until we can build new guys up after we get to the Super Bowl????? If you need a volenteer assistant I’m available. You do NOT get rid of people that are producing results….perhaps you should run for Congress. WAKE UP before there are no fans left to pay your salary.

  13. By Carol M on Mar 11, 2012 | Reply

    How about you submit your resignation, Mr. Smith, if you can’t get either VJ or Mike Tolbert signed? Sick of losing the good players and seeing them play well on other teams. Pay them!

  14. By Sandy Hustede on Mar 11, 2012 | Reply

    Totally agree! He is an idiot and keeps doing the SAME thing every year.. Here we go again!

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