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The San Diego Chargers will place inside linebacker Stephen Cooper on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday with a torn biceps after signing Gerald Hayes to a one-year contract, the team announced Tuesday.
Cooper, 32, was injured in an Aug. 21 exhibition game. Coach Norv Turner originally said Cooper would have surgery, but they gave the veteran a chance to play through the injury behind a new-look inside linebacker unit.
He had an assisted tackle on 11 defensive snaps.
"I don't think Stephen's arm was going to get any better," Turner said, "and it did limit him in some of the things he's trying to do."
The move was also about timing. The Chargers (4-1) have their bye this weekend, giving Hayes an added week to get acclimated to the team.
Hayes, who spent his first eight seasons in Arizona, said he'd been dividing his time as a free agent between Arizona and New Jersey.
He reunites with outside linebacker Travis LaBoy, a teammate on the Cardinals' 2008-2009 Super Bowl roster.
"Playing with LaBoy, it was fun at Arizona," Hayes said. "He's an exciting player to play with and a good guy in general. I knew Shaun (Phillips) and Takeo (Spikes) beforehand. I'm excited. I'm excited to start a new chapter ... It's a veteran team. I think I fit right in."