NBC 7’s Derek Togerson looks at the Chargers and their star players in this commentary
The Chargers organization is not known for its people skills. We got another example of why on Monday.
On Saturday, Chargers legend LaDainian Tomlinson will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. The ceremony starts at 4:00 p.m. San Diego time. That night the Bolts are scheduled to hold a dual practice with the Los Angeles Rams at the StubHub Center, the first real practice they’ll have in their new temporary home stadium.
Now if two players on the team can afford to miss one training camp practice you would think it’s Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers. Those two guys have been with the team since 2003 and 2004, respectively. They could wake up out of a three-month coma and run everything in the playbook.
Both of those men played with Tomlinson from their rookie years through the 2009 season and won five AFC West division championships. They also have both expressed interest in watching their former teammate and lifelong friend in person that night.
New Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn put an end to that possibility.
“I’ve talked to Philip, I’ve talked to Antonio, I’ve even talked to LT. We’re all on the same page. At the end of the day, we’re going to make the best decision for our football team and that’s it,” Lynn told Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.
That is the kind of noncommittal talking point response that we’ve come to expect from this franchise and it’s one of the things that infuriates people, both the media and the fan base, about them. Although Lynn and Rivers both denied the team outright blocked the team leaders from missing practice, the coach strongly suggested that the players do not miss a snap during this training camp. And that is sadly pathetic.
Traditionally, most NFL teams have allowed their veteran players who spent time with a Hall of Fame-worthy teammate to attend the induction ceremony. The Saints are even going to allow Drew Brees, who was in LT’s draft class with the Chargers, to go to Canton for the proceedings.
I understand every rep is important for a team, especially one with a new head coach. But there are some moments that go beyond the field. Showing veteran players that you care enough about them as people to let them support one of the greatest players in franchise history on the biggest night of his professional life would go a long way to winning support from those players and the rest of the locker room, and that can help those players fully buy in to their new head coach to create a more cohesive locker room.
I mean, come on. They have feelings, too, right Deano?
Ed. Note: On Tuesday, Lynn said he gave Gates his blessing to attend the Hall of Fame induction in Canton, Ohio.