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Emotions Run High as Final Cuts Loom

All that can be done, has been done.

Now all that's left to do is wait.

In the coming hours, 37 players who poured their hearts and souls trying to earn a spot on the Bolts will see their dream come to an end.

Still, those fighting for a roster spot had one last chance to prove their worth in Thursday night's preseason finale.  Despite falling 23-13 to the San Francisco 49ers, several Chargers made the choice a difficult one for President of Football Operations John Spanos, General Manager Tom Telesco, Head Coach Anthony Lynn and the rest of the team's brass.

They also helped illuminate some choices.

"It confirmed what (we've) seen," Telesco said following the game.  "But certain guys played their way on and certain guys played their way off."

The coming hours can be brutal for players as their destiny hangs in the balance.  Still, there's a certain peace of mind that comes with knowing they've put all they could on the line.

Just ask Austin Ekeler, the undrafted running back out of Western State who punctuated his case for a post on the team with his strongest game yet.  Ekeler carried the ball eight times for 60 yards against the 49ers, averaging 6.3 yards per carry.  He also caught three passes for 58 yards, averaging 19.3 yards per reception.

"It's relaxing," he said.  "Once you give everything you can to something, if you're good enough, then you'll be accepted.  If not, then it might be time to find something else.  Hopefully the chips fall where I'm wanting them to. But if not, I'll make a decision from there…I knew I was going to come out here and give everything I had.  I think that's what I did."

Meanwhile, Sean Culkin made his biggest mistake of what had been a strong preseason, letting a pass bounce of his hands into the waiting arms of cornerback Asa Jackson for a pick. However, he didn't let it faze him, as he continued to showcase his strength as a blocker and capability catching the ball.  Culkin caught three more passes for 21 yards, finishing the preseason with the second most receptions on the team.

"That was (hard) for me, but I'll use it as a learning experience and move on," the tight end said of the miscue.  "I'll bounce back and be a better player from it. That will pay off for me down the road in my career if I can learn from it.  But right now, all I can do has already been done.  I think (the Chargers) have a good feel for what I can do, and they have a lot of decisions to make. I can only control what I can control."

Perhaps no player appreciated the opportunity to put his best foot forward this preseason than Jamaal Jones.   The Montana product was eager to make an impression a year ago, but a hand injury on the third day of training camp cost him the entire season. 

"This was really just making the most out of all I was given," he explained.  "Last year, that was cut short because of injuries.  This year I knew I had to do everything I could in order to make this team.  That meant preparing more.  Studying more.  Giving it my all.  I approached today with a regular season approach because it felt like a real game.  The starters weren't playing, so I prepared myself as well as I could to play the whole game.  I did all I could out there.  So, I'm not going to worry too much about (the coming hours).  It's out of my control, but I did everything I could, so I'm going to relax."

That's easier said than done for Michael Davis, the speedy cornerback out of BYU who has garnered buzz since signing as an undrafted free agent.  Knowing the 49ers game was his last chance to show out, he admitted to feeling extra nerves.

"In the middle of this game I was playing everything over in my mind.  I did this right.  I could have done this better.  But to be honest, once I got out of the shower (after the game), it sunk in that what is done is done.  Now it's up to the coaches.  But I've loved this process.  I loved this experience.  It's fantastic."

Finally, it's déjà vu all over again for Dexter McCoil, who was in this very same position a year ago.

"It is what it is," the safety said.  "I did all I can.  Now, we just wait.  *For me, I left it all on the line.  I did everything I could.  It's all in God's hands.  It's always been a journey for me, so I'll be prepared for whatever and move on from there." *

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