CARSON (CBSLA) — Quarterback Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers will face the the Pittsburgh Steelers in a nationally televised night game with an offensive line that’s been reshuffled due to an injury to Pro Bowl Center Mike Pouncey.
Pouncey will miss the rest of the season because of a neck injury that will require surgery, coach Anthony Lynn said. “We’re going to miss him, his leadership off and on the field,” Lynn said. “I can’t say if it’s career-ending or not. He’s been playing football for a long time. It’s probably something that has been bothering him for a while and he’s just been playing through it.”
Pouncey was selected to the Pro Bowl for the 2018 season, his first with the Chargers after spending the first seven seasons of his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins where he was a three-time Pro Bowl selection.
Dan Feeney will replace Pouncey at center after starting the past 30 regular-season games at left guard. Forrest Lamp will replace Feeney at left guard, making the first start of his three-season NFL career.
Lynn described the 6-foot, 4-inch, 310-pound Feeney as “a heck of a guard, but I think he’s in more of his natural position” now.
“He has a lot of mustache energy,” Feeney’s offensive line-mate Michael Schofield told the team’s website, “He’s a great guy. (He brings) a lot of energy, (and is) just a good guy to be around. He’s a good locker room guy.”
Quarterback Philip Rivers expressed confidence that Feeney will “do a solid job” at center.
The Chargers chose Lamp in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft out of Western Kentucky, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp in 2017 and was limited to 17 plays in two games in 2018.
Lamp has played all five games this season, playing a combined seven plays the first three games, 17 in the 30-10 victory over the Miami Dolphins Sept. 29 and a career-high 45 in last Sunday’s 20-13 loss to the previously winless Denver Broncos.
“He was a little rusty, but he’s going to get a lot of opportunities to work that rust off,” Lynn said. “I have no doubt that his confidence will grow and that Forrest will be a good fit.”
It’s been awhile since the “black and yellow” played in the LA area. Tonight’s game will be their first here since November 27, 1994 when they defeated the Los Angeles Raiders 21-3 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)