Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

Category: San Diego Chargers

LaDainian Tomlinson's Charger career is over

LaDainian Tomlinson has told the San Diego Union-Tribune that he has played his last game as a Charger.

“I’m not coming back,” Tomlinson told The San Diego Union-Tribune on Thursday. “I don’t believe I’ll be back in San Diego. I’ve accepted it.”

“I’ve been praying and meditating,” he said. “After doing that for a couple weeks, I just felt like it was over.”

Tomlinson has two years remaining on his contract, but he is due a $2 million roster bonus March 5 and would be paid $5 million in total salary in 2010. As part of the renegotiated contract he signed last March, he is guaranteed $1 million by the Chargers for next season.

Tomlinson said he doesn’t know when the Chargers will release him. He said his agent might call the club to expedite the process.

-- Houston Mitchell

Chargers' game-day staff worker dies after fall

Daniels_walt A worker who fell out of the press box at Qualcomm Stadium on Monday has died from his injuries.

Walt Daniels, who worked as part of the San Diego Chargers' game-day staff for more than 20 years, died after falling 25-30 feet from the press box prior to Monday's game between the Chargers and the Denver Broncos. Witnesses said he sustained massive head injuries before being transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego.

Daniels, 66, died at 2:30 a.m. this morning. It is unclear why he fell out of the press box.

The Chargers released a brief statement expressing the team's condolences over Daniels' death: "The San Diego Chargers' family is greatly sadden by the loss of Walt Daniels. Walt loved the team and loved working in the press box on game days for more than 20 years. Our prayers are with his family and friends during this most difficult time."

-- Austin Knoblauch

Photo: Walt Daniels. Credit: Courtesy of the San Diego Chargers

Not such a smooth switch by CBS

Loved watching the Jets and Patriots on L.A.'s Channel 2, loved wondering how often Mark Sanchez was thinking about what a good decision it was in leaving USC. After all, the Jets are 2-0. The Trojans aren't.


But then it was time for Game 2 of the doubleheader. First we got a taste of the post-game show and then a crawl saying that due to contractual obligations Channel 2 would be soon going to the Chargers-Ravens game. OK, fine, we get San Diego. Saw a little more of the show. Got that crawl again. And again. Then a commercial. Then the switch.

And for a glorious moment (confession, as a native of suburban Chicago this made me happy) Channel 2 sent us SoCal viewers to the Bears-Pittsburgh game. Just a tease,  just enough to make a few of our hopes rise. Then there was a clunky cutaway to the Chargers game.

This isn't a criticism of the game Channel 2 was showing. And this is with the understanding that it's possible to get all the NFL games by switching from our cable system to DirecTV. But, come on. This isn't a newfangled thing, switching to the game of contractual obligation. It shouldn't be so difficult.

-- Diane Pucin

Shawne Merriman arrested for alleged battery on Tila Tequila

 Diego Chargers star linebacker Shawne Merriman was arrested early today on suspicion of battery and false imprisonment after a girlfriend told sheriff's deputies he had choked and restrained her.

Fabforum Deputies responded to a call at 3:45 a.m. from Tila Nguyen, also known as Tila Tequila.

The 27-year-old model and reality TV star said Merriman had assaulted her when she tried to leave his home in Poway, a suburb north of San Diego.

Nguyen was taken to the hospital.

Tony Perry has all the details on our L.A. Now blog here.

Vikings' Brad Childress defends Adrian Peterson

Responding to Wednesday's story by The Times' Sam Farmer, Minnesota Vikings Fabforum Coach Brad Childress came out in defense of his standout running back, Adrian Peterson. Click on the link and you can watch the video.

In Farmer's story, San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson said he was better than Peterson, and compared himself to Tiger Woods, among others.

Hall of Famer Jim Brown must be sitting home wondering what all the fuss is about.

-- Houston Mitchell

Photo: Adrian Peterson and Brad Childress at training camp. Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn / US Presswire

Michael Vick? Chargers just say no.

Vick_240 Count the San Diego Chargers among the growing list of NFL teams that have said they have no intention of signing disgraced quarterback Michael Vick, recently granted conditional reinstatement by Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"Some head coaches and GMs would talk about it, but for what?" Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith told The Times. "I don't know why you'd want to fool with it."

Smith did say, however, that it would actually be easier to squeeze Vick onto a roster than a player at another position, because on game day he could be designated the emergency third quarterback, who does not count as part of the 45-man roster on game day.

"You could put him in the third spot; it's an open roster," he said. "If you want to put another guy in another place, you're cutting a guy. But because he's a quarterback, if you want you could literally get rid of your third guy and give (Vick) your third spot, and you've still got one and two. And you've got a whole season to find out whether he's in shape, whether he stays straight, whether he can come back, get his strength, get his legs. You're really watching him. And you can implement a Wildcat package, see how that goes, and then get him ready for the following year."

Smith said he can see someone in the league presenting that idea to an owner, but added, "I can't see him at (a No. 2 quarterback) and we know for a fact that he's not anybody's one, because he's out of football."

As for the Chargers, Smith said: "Let me just put it this way: If his agent calls, we have three quarterbacks here and we're set at the position. We don't have any spot for him here."

Asked if the team might create a spot if one of those quarterbacks were not available, Smith said no.

-- Sam Farmer

Photo: Michael Vick enters the U.S. District Court last month in Newport News, Va. Photo credit: Adrin Snider / Associated Press.

Jack Kemp: New York icon started as an L.A. story

Jack_kemp_oxy Jack Kemp, 73, passed away this weekend after a battle with cancer. He will best be remembered for a successful career in both football and politics in New York, but it all began on the sun-splashed fields of Southern California.

Born in Los Angeles, Kemp attended Fairfax High and became a standout in football (in several positions) and track and field (he set a school record in the javelin) at Occidental in the mid-1950s. He was close friends with future NFL coach Jim Mora, a teammate and fellow member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

At 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, Kemp thought he was too small to play for either USC or UCLA but still aspired to make it in the NFL. His pro career got off to a rocky start until he found success with the AFL's Los Angeles Chargers in 1960 and moved with the team to San Diego the following year.

Continue reading »

Chargers in Los Angeles... but not*

Norv.j230 Just because Norv Turner and some of the San Diego Chargers brass were in Los Angeles last night entertaining potential suite holders doesn't mean the NFL franchise is poised for a move north. The meet-and-greet dinner at Home Depot Center, emceed by everywhere-at-all-times sportscaster Jim Hill, was part of the team's interest to drum up support in a down economy. Already, more than 25% of the Chargers' sponsors and premium patrons hail from Orange County and north.

It's always interesting, though, when representatives of the team make appearances on this side of Camp Pendleton. Why? Because the Chargers are one of the very few NFL teams free to relocate without the threat of a lawsuit. As it stands, however, the City of Industry stadium site is not a fit, especially if developer Ed Roski is looking to buy a piece of the team, which he wants to do (any team, not specifically the Chargers.) I know that A) there's no way the Spanos family would be willing to part with anything more than a minority share of the Chargers, and B) they would want cash for that share at the nosebleed-high going rate, not the type of development trade-out Roski would prefer.

Regardless, Turner was joined by tackle Marcus McNeill and linebacker Stephen Cooper, and they mingled with a group of 40-50 invitees, then sat down for an informal Q&A session. No draft revelations in that, other than Turner confirming with a chuckle that he wasn't looking for a left tackle or middle linebacker -- a nod to the players who joined him.

San Diego picks 16th and will have plenty of options. The Chargers could use a running back (Ohio State's Beanie Wells or Georgia's Knowshon Moreno are possibles), a cornerback (Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins or Illinois' Vontae Davis), a linebacker (USC's Rey Maualuga or Brian Cushing), or a defensive lineman (LSU's Tyson Jackson or Mississippi's Peria Jerry).

Continue reading »

LaDainian Tomlinson on trade rumors: 'Ridiculous'

Ladainian_tomlinson Will the San Diego Chargers put LaDainian Tomlinson on the trading block?

That apparently is the growing speculation. His contract runs through 2011, and in June he will turn 30, the age supposedly that marks the start of the downhill half of a running back's career.

Amid this speculation, Tomlinson spoke out this afternoon, saying this to Jim Trotter on

"I think it's ridiculous to be talking about trade and me not being here, that’s just my personal opinion. I know every team has a right to make trades and all this stuff, but I just think it’s ridiculous to be talking about this, to have this stuff in the media when this could be handled behind closed doors and in a professional way. Now I have people calling me, talking about this all the time; this has become a big story, and I don’t want this."

Says Trotter:

"This seems a strange way to treat a player who has been the face of the franchise. ..."

-- Debbie Goffa

Photo credit: Don Wright / US Presswire

Chargers-Steelers (and the rest of the NFL) get big ratings

Steelers fans at this past weekend's Chargers game.

The AFC divisional playoff game between the Chargers and Steelers was the most-watched television show of the week (Jan. 5-11) drawing 34.1 million viewers to CBS, according to Nielsen Media Research. And, according to Nielsen, the game broadcast beat out mostly new stuff, not reruns of Charlie Brown's Christmas and holiday cooking shows.

No. 2 was the Fox NFC divisional playoff game between the Eagles and Giants, with 31.4 million viewers. No. 3 was the Fox BCS Championship football game between Florida and Oklahoma and No. 4  was the AFC divisional playoff game on CBS between Baltimore and Nashville; No. 5 was the Fox NFC divisional playoff game between the Cardinals and Panthers with 23.8 million viewers.

"The Mentalist" (CBS) broke the NFL string at No. 6, with 19.6 million viewers. The No. 7 show was "NCIS", and good, old "60 Minutes" was No. 10. CBS had the only non-NFL programming in the week's top 10.

What was No. 8? Why that would be the Fiesta Bowl broadcast with Texas and Ohio State on Fox.

(The Chargers also played well in Los Angeles. Channel 2 had a 19.7 rating with a 42 share, making it the top-rated show of the week.)

ABC and NBC apparently had programming last week. We'll take their word on that.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Pittsburgh Steelers fans at the AFC Divisional playoff game against the San Diego Chargers. Credit: Don Wright-US PRESSWIRE

Continue reading »

Wake-up Call: Kings, Drew Brees, Tim Tebow, Mack Brown, Jason Giambi, Venus Williams

Thomas Hickey, right, races to celebrate with goalie Dustin Tokarski after Canada defeated Sweden 5-1 in the title game.

First things first: So many young Kings did so well in the World Junior Hockey Championships. I was asking not too long ago what is up with Thomas Hickey? I got my answer last night, as Helene Elliott's blog points made clear. Hope lives for Kings fans. Now, can these kids bring it to the NHL level? Oscar Moller, one of the three in last night's title game, already is with the club. Hickey may be close.

Next shocker: Drew Brees was named the AP offensive player of the year this morning. With Brees' stats, it really isn't a surprise. He came so close -- 5,069 yards passing -- to breaking Dan Marino's 1984 record. A better NFL shocker is little Darren Sproles of the San Diego Chargers and his amazing effort in Sunday's victory. He made viewers start to forget LaDainian Tomlinson was hurt. The Times' Bill Dwyre has a good read this morning on Sproles.

Bowl beauty: Will anyone be watching the BCS title game other than Florida and Oklahoma fans and those who've made bets on the game? Thursday night -- what was the BCS thinking? It will be worth watching at least part of it to see Tim Tebow take the Gators downfield over and over again, and to watch L.A.'s Emmanuel Moody sprint past defenders. But the real reason to watch is to see if Oklahoma's Sam Bradford -- and head Coach Bob Stoops --can win a really big game. The Sooners couldn't even beat rival Texas back in October. Mack Brown's Longhorns, by the way, won the Fiesta Bowl last night against Ohio State, behind the arm of Colt McCoy. McCoy was great under pressure in that last 1:36. Yet at the end of the game, it was Brown whom I kept watching. He somehow looked different than I remember. Younger than I remember. You be the judge. The Brown on the left is from 2005. The one on the right is from last night. Either way, he is a lively face in college football.

Mackbrown2 Mackbrown1

Hit money: Word from ESPN's Buster Olney today is that the Oakland A's and free agent first baseman and DH Jason Giambi are close to agreeing on a one-year deal with an option for 2010. The deal reportedly would pay Giambi $5.25 million in 2009 with a $4-million base salary for the option year in 2010. And this, even though Giambi was cited in the Mitchell Report. The Yankees sure didn't want him back. Of course, baseball fans will remember that Giambi started his career in Oakland and was a key part of the terrific book "Moneyball" after GM Billy Beane let Giambi become a free agent and replaced him with Scott Hatteberg.

Hit and run: Venus Williams, who is in Hong Kong for a exhibition tennis tournament, said she isn't even close to retiring, so don't go there. She is 28 and still wants to win the two Grand Slams that have escaped her: the Australian and French Opens. "I love my job. I love hitting balls, running, jumping, chasing after that ball. I love what I do, so that's what keeps me motivated," the L.A. native said. She has won Wimbledon five times and the U.S. Open twice and said reclaiming the No. 1 spot is a realistic goal. She is currently ranked No. 6. The flagging sport of tennis could use Venus Williams, or even sister Serena, in the top spot. Jelena Jankovic is the current No. 1.

-- Debbie Goffa

Photo: Thomas Hickey, right, races to celebrate with goalie Dustin Tokarski after Canada defeated Sweden, 5-1, in the title game Monday night at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Ottawa. Credit: Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press / AP


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About the Reporters
Sports Now is written by the entire Sports department of the L.A. Times.

Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.



Bleacher Report | Los Angeles

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More on Bleacher Report »

Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: