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Chargers Camp Kicks Off

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCSanDiego

    While rookies start camp Monday, one absence from the roster could rank up there in a long history of Charger blunders.

    The rookies returned Sunday to check in and pick up a thick, new playbook to memorize. At the same time, some of them shared the rumors they’ve been hearing about what awaits for them in their jump from the NCAA to the NFL.

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    "They say it's like going to hell, but I mean it's a part of it. This is what we signed up for,” said tight end Dedrick Epps.

    At the beginning of last season, these guys were top tier, college seniors, some team captains, all kings of their collegiate castles.

    But now they've graduated and Monday means going back to square one.

    “I was kind of nervous coming out here, like 'aw man, I wonder if everyone's going to do their own thing, don't wanna be friendly’ but everyone wants to hang out and be friends," said tackle Ryan Otterson.

    For rookie tight end/fullback Richie Brockel, this is the chance to show the Chargers what he can bring to the team, "Just getting the pads on, going full speed against all the vets. Really getting the opportunity to prove myself."

    Top draft pick Ryan Mathews wasn’t among them. The running back from Fresno State, won't report on time, but he is expected to arrive at some point this week.

    Some veterans though are still unsigned. Vincent Jackson, Shawne Merriman and Marcus McNeill have refused to sign their one-year contract tenders.

    One local sports writer said the absence of McNeill in particular could rank up there with the Jack Kemp trade for $100 to the Buffalo Bills in the 1960’s.

    “To not have your cornerstone left tackle in camp signed up and ready to go when you’re a pass-oriented team, when you’ve given your quarterback $92 million and that is your whole philosophy at how you want to move the ball is through the air, ” said North County Times sports writer Jay Paris. “I can’t believe it. I really can’t believe it.”

    “Get your left tackle in there and figure everything else out later,” Paris said.

    Rookies will fly solo at camp until Friday when the veterans join in on practice. 

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