Chargers Are Bad at Breaking Up

History shows the Bolts don't handle splits from stars very well

NBC 7's Derek Togerson looks back on a rocky history of star players leaving the San Diego Chargers in this commentary

Have you ever been with someone for a long time and for some reason the relationship just goes south and you need to break it off? Sure, we all have.

You hope the split can be amicable. You hope the other person sees, like you do, that it’s not working, or things have just run their course. That way you can both move on without too much drama.

If not, then things get really messy. There’s a lot of yelling and bitterness that lasts for years and years and you never know if you’re going to get all your stuff back.

When it comes to parting with their star players the San Diego Chargers tend to handle things the bad way. Simply put, the Bolts are bad at breaking up.

It started with wide receivers Lance Alworth and John Jefferson, who both went elsewhere even though they were still impact players and didn’t see eye-to-eye with ownership.

But the trend became a trait of the club since the Spanos family took control of the team. Just look at the list of guys who have left the organization on less-than-good terms:

QB Dan Fouts
TE Kellen Winslow
DE Fred Dean
DE Leslie O’Neal
S Rodney Harrison
ILB Junior Seau
QB Drew Brees
RB LaDainian Tomlinson

Now we can add safety Eric Weddle to the list. Weddle being fined $10,000 for missing part of halftime of the Chargers win over the Dolphins to watch his daughter perform on the field, followed by him being placed on injured reserve and told he can’t fly with the team to the season finale in Denver, is unfortunately just par for the course with this franchise.

The vast majority of the riffs between the players and the ownership/front office have stemmed from money. Fouts, Winslow and Dean all were upset about contract disputes and were either sent out of town or not re-signed. O’Neal was a strong personality who clashed with the front office and both sides held a grudge for years.

Harrison, Seau, Brees and Tomlinson were all viewed as players who had diminishing skill sets. The problem is the team was vocal about saying that, which is a no-no when you’re dealing with players in general and Pro Bowlers in-particular.

If you look at the Chargers Ring of Honor you’ll see almost every single guy in it left on some kind of negative note. Remember back before Spanos took over, Ron Mix had his number retired. After he decided to play another season with the Raiders the team had it unretired … and it’s STILL unretired.

Before you pull the, “well he went to play for another team so of course they unretired his 74,” card keep in mind the Bulls didn’t do that with the 23 when Michael Jordan decided to go play for the Wizards. If you’re going to honor a player for what he did for your team you don’t let those good deeds go undone by something he does in another uniform.

The Mix move, much like the rest of these stars, was simple pettiness. It was not started by the Spanos family but it's been perpetuated by them.

It’s what Weddle is experiencing now. I sincerely hope it’s not what Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers have to go through in the future.

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