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Martin’s ankle improving

Posted Jun 8, 2010

Veteran presence increases as OTAs resume.

SAN DIEGO – Vaughn Martin hovered near the field after Tuesday’s practice, relishing the feel of his No. 92 jersey as sweat pooled across his forehead.

The second-year defensive end had just completed his first practice since before last year’s divisional playoff game against the New York Jets.

Martin had offseason ankle surgery but returned Tuesday with a compression sleeve that stretched up his calf. The ankle feels much better, he said, and he’s happy to get back to work.

“That’s what you do for a living, play football,” Martin said. “Not necessarily rehab and exercises. To get out there and actually play football.”

The second-year Jamaican-born athlete played in 10 games last season and recorded five tackles. The Chargers drafted him in the fourth round out of Western Ontario (Canada) last year.

DIFFERENT LOOK: The first team offense looked a bit different Tuesday as OTAs (Organized Team Activities) resumed.

Malcom Floyd, Randy McMichael and Buster Davis, none of which were in uniform with the Chargers during Mini Camp, took reps alongside Philip Rivers during 11-on-11s.

McMichael, a ninth-year tight end recently signed to add depth to the position, didn’t experience many comfortable, overcast OTAs in Miami or St. Louis.

“The first thing I thought about was how cool it was (for) June. In fact, it’s the coolest June that I’ve ever had in my life,” he said of his first practice in San Diego.

McMichael got into a playful verbal joust with Antwan Applewhite, who provided close coverage on a pass that the veteran couldn’t corral.

“It was just fun to be back out here playing ball,” he said. “Sometimes I had a couple of rookie moments when I was looking around, trying to follow where all the other guys are going, but it was just fun to be out here with my new team.”

Davis, who generated attention for making several catches during the first week of OTAs, returned from a concussion. He lined up opposite Floyd, who signed a one-year contract Monday.

“There’s some things we’ve installed since (Floyd) has been here where he was, ‘Oh, that’s new. I’ve got to figure out what that is and what I’m supposed to do on that play,’” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “But that’s the easy part. He’s been in this system now for three straight years and he has a great understanding of it.”

NUMBER CHANGE: McMichael wore his usual No. 81 after the Chargers signed him last week. Rookie receiver Marcel Thompson switched to the No. 47 jersey.

ONE MAN’S OPINION: As NFL training camps creep closer, many national publications are offering their early prognostications.

Asked what to expect from the Chargers and if last year’s playoff loss will provide motivation, Antoine Cason answered in the affirmative.

“There’s definitely a hunger. I haven’t been to a Super Bowl and a lot of the guys on this team haven’t been to a Super Bowl. And the Chargers haven’t, of course, since back in the 90s.

“Everyone in this locker room wants to win. It’s one collective goal we have amongst others, so we are definitely working to get to the Super Bowl, just like all other 31 teams are.”
SHOOT TO CURE: This Friday presents an opportunity to participate in a unique speed-free-throw shooting contest and three-point contest, sample some of San Diego’s finest food and interact with some of your favorite Chargers.

All that will take place between 6 and 10 p.m. at the ninth annual Qualcomm Shoot to Cure HD, presented by Cymer, which includes a tour of Chargers Park, prizes and silent auctions and the opportunity to help raise money for the fight against Huntington’s Disease. Antonio Gates is the honorary chair for the fifth-straight year.

To purchase a ticket or for more information, visit www.HDSASanDiego.org, or contact Stephanie Alband at (619) 225-2255.

BOLTS: The defense stayed active Tuesday during team periods. Eric Weddle punched the ball from Ryan Mathews’ grasp 10 yards past the line of scrimmage … Darrell Stuckey later stripped Richie Brockel after the tight end caught a pass in the flat, then watched as linebacker Brandon Lang scooped up the football and took off … Weddle also intercepted a pass that brushed Davis’ hands … Kevin Ellison returned to practice … Gary Banks streaked down the right sideline to catch a pass in stride from Rivers despite stumbling and contending with close coverage from Quentin Jammer.

PRACTICE WEATHER: 66 degrees, mostly cloudy

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