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Alumni Welcomed Back to Chargers Park

Posted Jul 26, 2014

Former members of the team attended Saturday’s practice.

Many San Diego Chargers alumni were on hand during the team’s first padded practice on Saturday to watch the new players and mingle with the old.

Players in attendance included Vince Abbott, Rolf Benirschke, Martin Bayless, Jim Caravello, Mike London, Craig McEwen, Pat Rogers, Sam Scarber, Jim Schmedding, and Herb Travenio.

While a number of the alumni reside in San Diego, the opportunity the Chargers and Spanos family give them to come back is something they never take for granted.

“It’s neat of the team to include the alumni,” former kicker Benirschke said.  “This is a part of our life that always will have a had a huge impact on us.  It’s nice to know the contributions we made during our era helped lay the foundation for the next generations to come.”

“The Spanos family has been incredibly supportive of alumni activities,” said former guard Schmedding.  “They’ve appreciated the alumni and the alumni certainly has appreciated the Chargers and how they’ve treated (us).”

While watching the 2014 Chargers take reps on the field, it was hard for the alumni to not be nostalgic about their professional football days.

“(Training camp are) long days. The short nights, long days and meetings, I remember kneeling for hours and training,” Benirschke said.  “And of course for a kicker it wasn’t bad compared to the other players, but nevertheless it’s an intense time.”

Travenio who kicked for the Chargers from 1964-1966, was the oldest alum on hand and has been coming to Chargers alumni events for 52 years.  Nevertheless, his age doesn’t dampen his spirit.  He called watching today’s practice “terrible” because he wanted to be out on the field instead.

As the third day of practice wound down, the pads made the action seem more real.  Benirschke believes it’s hard to place expectations on a team for a new season, but sensed the general enthusiasm apparent in Chargers Park.

“I think there’s optimism here. They’ve got a lot of offensive talent and they’ve upgraded the defense,” he said.  “Some of the injured players are back.  The west is a tough division but this is a sport where you can go from first to last and last to first and certainly there’s talent here and that’s key.”

“We’ve got a great group of kids and talent and the coaching staff has a tremendous opportunity to make it all come together,” said Schmedding.

And as Travenio put it, “Win, baby, win.”

 

 

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