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Chargers Reduce Roster to 53
It’s a day that both players and coaches dread, but cut day is a necessary evil of the NFL. Ironically enough, it is often one of the most important days in determining the success for the upcoming season.
To that end, the San Diego Chargers faced the difficult task of condensing their roster from 75 to 53 players today. To do so, the Bolts terminated the contracts of veterans Jacques Cesaire, Anthony Davis, Mario Henderson, Jacob Hester and Nick Novak. They also waived Edwin Baker, Colin Baxter, Bront Bird, Charlie Bryant, Ricky Elmore, Daryl Gamble, Gregory Gatson, Logan Harrell, Arthur Hobbs, Jarrett Lee, Robert Malone, DeAndre Presley, Damik Scafe, Stephen Schilling, Kory Sperry and Mike Willie. Safety Sean Cattouse was also placed on the Reserve/Injured list.
“This day is always tough,” admitted head coach Norv Turner. “You watch these guys you start with in May and they’re chasing the dream. It’s extremely tough when you get in a situation with a Jacques Cesaire and a Jacob Hester and guys who have been with you over the last four or five years.”
Even though Philip Rivers surely doesn’t need to sweat out the long hours to find out whether he made the cut or not, he explained how even for him, today is difficult to get through.
“This is the worst part about this business,” said the Chargers quarterback. “We spend a lot of time with each other for months and it comes to an end. Some guys will hopefully get other chances elsewhere, but it’s really the worst part about being in this league. It’s never fun.”
While final cut day can be brutal, it can also mark the culmination of a lifelong dream to reach the NFL. That was the case for six rookies, including draft picks Melvin Ingram, Kendall Reyes, Brandon Taylor, Ladarius Green and David Molk, as well as undrafted free agent Mike Harris. Still, they can’t celebrate for too long as they are going to be relied upon to produce from the get go.
“This whole day is really about who you are able to keep on your football team,” said Turner. “We’ve got some young guys who are going to have to grow up real fast and contribute, and that includes all of our rookies.”
Besides these first year players, 13 new additions made the squad who were not on the team last year. They include Jackie Battle, Ronnie Brown, Rex Hadnot, Aubrayo Franklin, Jarret Johnson, Corey Lynch, Robert Meachem, Le’Ron McClain, Dante Rosario, Eddie Royal, Micheal Spurlock, Charlie Whitehurst and Demorrio Williams.
“I think we are in the process of getting what we hoped out of these veteran guys,” said Turner. “Each of them brings different attributes to our team, so I’m looking forward to watching them grow with our team.”
Even though 22 players were let go from the team today, that doesn’t mean they are gone for good. Many are expected to comprise the Chargers’ eight-man practice squad, which the team can start signing players to at 9:00AM tomorrow morning.
Also, the team could use the new Injured/Reserved rule on an injured player currently on the roster, most notably Vincent Brown, which would free up another open spot on the active roster. This is a new rule that Turner is particularly pleased to see enacted and says can help the team in 2012.
“It’s a great rule,” said the head coach. “Last year with Luis Castillo, it would have given us a chance to add another player while also giving him a chance to get healthy. This year that could be the case with Vincent Brown. Hopefully Vincent can have a speedy recovery and it gives us a chance to keep a 53rd man and keep Vincent rehabbing.”
In the end, choosing the final 53 man roster was a decision that was truly difficult to make. But having it be a hard decision means the Chargers are selecting those who rose to the occasion during a particularly competitive training camp and preseason.
“We had great competition this year,” said Turner. “But ultimately it comes down to a combination of being able to play in our packages and people’s contribution on special teams. And it’s important how they all fit together. Each one of the guys we kept brings a certain skill we need.”