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Chargers Notes: Sproles signs tender

Posted Apr 28, 2009

Running back Darren Sproles, the Chargers’ designated franchise player, signed the team’s one-year contract tender.

Sproles was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this spring before the Chargers opted to use their franchise designation him, which guarantees he’ll make the average of the five top running back salaries in the league.  That’s $6.621 million this season.  It also meant that if another team were to sign Sproles, the Chargers would receive two first-round draft choices as compensation.

A year ago, Sproles was one of the game’s most electrifying players.  He averaged 5.4 yards per carry and 11.8 yards per reception and scored six touchdowns in his fourth NFL season.  During the Chargers’ playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts, NBC’s John Madden called Sproles the “best screen runner in football.”

In addition to his role on offense, Sproles serves as the team’s primary return specialist.  He finished eighth in the NFL in both kickoff return average (26.0) and punt return average (11.3). 

Mr. Nice Guy

Over the weekend, Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner said that while first-round draft pick Larry English plays with a mean streak, the former Northern Illinois Husky is “the nicest guy you could hope to have on your football team.” 

English had a presence during his introductory press conference Sunday and made a positive first impression on those in attendance.  While meeting with reporters, he described how he flips the switch once he hits the field.   

“If you’re going to be a great football player, that whole attitude has got to change and you’ve got to turn into an intense, nasty person,” English said.  “That’s the way I like to play the game.”

English left no doubt that he’ll continue that approach with his new team. 

“You’re getting someone who cares about football and has a true passion for the game,” English said.  “I have a passion for pass rushing and I’m eager to learn and get better every day.”

Sullivan honored

Chargers offensive line coach Mike Sullivan, who joined Turner’s staff this spring, was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame last week.  Sullivan played offensive tackle for the Hurricanes from 1986-1991 and helped lead the school to two National Championships.

Upon his graduation from Miami, Sullivan enjoyed a five-year playing career in the NFL with the Cowboys and Buccaneers. 

Next level

The sons of two former Chargers will get their chance to follow in the footsteps of their famous fathers.  Jairus Byrd, whose father Gill spent 10 seasons in San Diego and is a member of the Chargers Hall of Fame, was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round (42nd overall) Saturday.  The younger Byrd was an All-Pac 10 selection at Oregon.

Boise State wide receiver Vinny Peretta signed a free agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings.  Peretta’s father Ralph played guard and center for the Chargers from 1975-80.

Helping out

The Oceanside Unified School District will receive a $200,000 grant from the Chargers as part of the National Football League Grassroots Program.  The Chargers were one of 16 teams to receive a grant through the program, which supports the development and renovation of community fields.

The funds will be used to install a synthetic field at Oceanside High School. The new field will meet the needs of 24,000 athletes and community members, including the Pirates football team, a group that won its fifth-consecutive CIF San Diego Section championship last fall.

Roster move

The Chargers added Georgia cornerback Ramarcus Brown to the roster Tuesday and released Grant Mason.

Now, you can stay in touch with the team anytime, anywhere, on your mobile device with the official app of the San Diego Chargers.
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