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Is Gaither Gone for Good?

The Chargers left tackle is officially out for the rest of the season



    Is Gaither Gone for Good?
    Getty Images
    KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 30: Offensive tackle Jared Gaither #78 of the San Diego Chargers gets set on the line against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half on September 30, 2012 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

    After a tumultuous season, offensive lineman Jared Gaither was placed on Injured Reserve Friday. He’s done for the season, and possibly with the Chargers forever.

    Gaither signed at the beginning of the season to a $24.6 million, four-year contract.

    His season has been riddled with injury. Missing the first several games because of a back injury, and most recently missing because of a groin injury.

    The Chargers made the decision to place him on injured reserve on Friday, two days before the Chargers will take on the Baltimore Ravens.

    “We gave Jared Gaither every opportunity to play on this team,” head coach Norv Turner said. “And it just hasn’t worked out.”

    In his place, rookie Mike Harris has been playing left tackle.

    Turner said they would have been lost without the rookie.

    “I don’t know what we would have done without him,” Turner said. “He’s a guy that’s improving, that’s working as hard as he can. He’s had some tough match-ups and he’s managed it to the best of his abilities.”

    Earlier in the week the Chargers signed Kevin Hughes. Hughes is 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds. He spent last season with the Rams, mostly on their practice squad as an undrafted rookie. He also played left tackle for the Southeastern Louisiana University Lions.

    In 2011, Hughes was the first Lion in school history to get an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine.

    Along with Hughes, Kevin Haslam will join the offensive line squad. Haslam signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2010. He played in only five games in 2010 and missed all of the 2011 season because of a knee injury. He signed with the Raiders as a free agent in May of this year.

    He graduated from Rutgers University and, interestingly enough, in his 2005 recruiting class was running back Ray Rice. Should Haslam see playing time on Sunday against the Ravens it will be the first time the two have played on the same field since Rice left Rutgers in 2008 to participate in the NFL Draft.

    Another veteran to the league, but new to the Chargers face on the line will be Rex Hadnot.

    Hadnot has been practicing with the team since May, but with guard Tyrone Green doubtful due to injury, this will be his first opportunity at substantial playing time.

    And he’s ready.

    “It’s important in any position when you’re on the football team to always prepare yourself to play, mentally I always try to prepare myself as if I’m going to go out there and play,” Hadnot said. “I’m excited about it and looking forward to trying to help the team win.”

    Practice squad or not, Hadnot said the welcome he has received from his teammates has sparked a greater desire in him to perform well.

    “Those guys encourage me just to be myself,” he said. “Since I got here in May, this group has been very receptive to my personality so I can definitely appreciate that. I’m going to go out there and give them all that I can to help us win.”

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