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SAN DIEGO – Long after Philip Rivers and Billy Volek ducked into the locker room with a throng of veterans, two players remained on the field.
Fifth-round draft pick Jonathan Crompton spent several minutes taking snaps from rookie center/guard Jeff Hansen, and extra time learning without the scrutiny of 100,000 orange-clad Tennessee Volunteer fans in Knoxville, Tenn., or the instability of four offensive coordinators in four years.
Rivers and Volek are entrenched at starter and backup, and Crompton is fine with that.
“They’ve been through the fire,” Crompton said. “They know exactly what goes on so you try to pick their brain and see what goes on and try to learn from it.”
Satisfied with his developmental role, the quarterback can begin the challenging adjustment to life under center in the NFL. He’s even got recent history encouraging him to stay patient.
Charlie Whitehurst, a 2006 draft pick by San Diego, developed enough skills behind the All-Pro and consummate backup to garner interest from at least one team. The Seattle Seahawks traded for Whitehurst on March 18, making room for Crompton in San Diego.
His arm strength immediately is apparent. He’s just got to get comfortable enough to let it fly, receiver Buster Davis said.
Crompton hasn’t achieved perfection this week but carries no illusions of becoming Dan Fouts months before his first NFL training camp.
For now he’s happy to get to know his teammates and plug away at his job.
He’s used to picking up new systems but knows all too well how much time it takes. While in San Diego, Crompton has spent all of his available time at the team facility or studying at his hotel.
“I think (the studying) does make it so I can learn a little quicker, but there’s still a learning curve,” he said. “It’s the NFL. These are the best players in the world, so there’s always gonna be some struggles. But I’m taking it one day at a time and trying to learn every day.” Read