The Chargers feared the worst when Jeff Cumberland and Donavon Clark were carted off the field in Friday night’s 19-3 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
Those fears were confirmed on Saturday as Head Coach Mike McCoy announced both players would miss the 2016 season. Cumberland tore his Achilles late in the first half while Clark suffered an ACL injury in the third quarter.
“Unfortunately, both Jeff and Donavon are going to be done for the year,” he said. “Jeff had the Achilles injury in the game, and it’s unfortunate. You just love the way being a new player he came in, and you saw the way he was coming on at the stadium, FanFest and the way he’s been working through really understanding the system. Spending the offseason playing fast. You saw his speed and the way we were going to be able to use him. The way he played in the first preseason games; it’s unfortunate. Running downfield it just went on him. That’s a tough one.”
This is the second time Cumberland has gone down with an Achilles injury as he suffered the same thing in 2011 with the New York Jets. The Chargers inked the 6-4, 260-pound tight end to a one-year contract in April. He spent his entire career before this season in New York, catching 86 passes for 1,119 yards and 10 touchdowns in 65 career games.
Meanwhile, Clark was San Diego’s seventh-round draft choice out of Michigan State in this year’s draft. The 6-4, 315-pounder had been coming on strong, showcasing the versatility that led to him being selected, before being rolled up on blocking for a Branden Oliver run.
“That’s a tough one,” McCoy said. “(The) guy worked so hard. Donavon was a young player who was getting better in the games. Last week in Tennessee and this week, you saw things he was doing on game day that was better than he had been doing in practice. You saw him developing.”