SAN DIEGO (AP) — Another Chargers practice, another day without Eric Weddle.
The team’s All-Pro safety missed the first day of the final week off OTAs on Monday. With the sessions being voluntary, Weddle isn’t subject to discipline.
That changes next week for the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp.
San Diego coach Mike McCoy is adamant about not talking about Weddle, or any Charger not attending. But defensive tackle Corey Liuget said the defense having to work without its captain isn’t significant.
“It’s not really a distraction for us,” Liuget said. “I’m pretty sure he is working hard somewhere, getting in shape.”
Weddle is bent out-of-shape because of his contract situation. He’s entering the final year of his deal and the Chargers, despite saying otherwise earlier in the year, are not interested in offering an extension.
“We understand it, but we can’t wait for him,” said Liuget, a fifth-year pro.
While the Chargers pass so far on keeping Weddle long term, the same isn’t true regarding quarterback Philip Rivers and Liuget. Although the Rivers negotiations haven’t showed much progress, momentum is building regarding the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Liuget.
“Hopefully it gets done in the next couple of days or in a week or so,” said Liuget, who led the Chargers with 4 1-2 sacks last year. “It’s very important to me because it gives me a sense of relief. I will be very thankful that the Chargers organization wants me here.”
Liuget, who paced the Chargers with 19 tackles for losses, longs for a different role, too. With linebackers Dwight Freeney (not re-signed) and Jarret Johnson (retired) gone, Liuget, a first-round pick in 2011, looks to become a leader.
“I need to be able to play better and bring everyone with me,” Liuget said. “We have to play at the same level. Just help the team get better and get to the playoffs, with the ultimate goal of go out and win the division.”
The Chargers, a third-place finisher last year in the AFC West, didn’t qualify for the playoffs and have missed the postseason in four of the past five seasons.
“We need to get better each and every week,” Liuget said.
Next week is the start of minicamp. Maybe Weddle practices and Liuget’s all in.
“We don’t have any control over that,” Liuget said. “But I can’t wait to see (Weddle) back out there.”
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