The Chargers begin offseason training activities (OTAs) on Tuesday. Although there is no hitting/tackling allowed, this is the first time of the offseason the players will practice in helmets.
OTAs provide the team with the opportunity to begin installments in all three phases of the game. It also gives the entire team a chance to begin to gel.
For the first time since Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy took over the reins with the Chargers, the team has a player not attending due to contract issues.
That player is Eric Weddle.
Weddle has made it clear that he will not be at voluntary workouts with the team until a long-term contract extension is signed. Although Telesco has said numerous times that the Chargers plan on extending him at the right time, the talks have been non-existent as of late.
He voiced his displeasure about not having a new contract to Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune.
“I feel highly, highly disrespected,” Weddle told Acee in late April. “… It is what it is, but there is no reason for me to put out any more effort.”
“We’ve come to them numerous times and said we want to be part of the team, we want to retire as a Charger,” Weddle said. “We’ve completely gotten pushed aside.”
The 30-year-old free safety is in the last year of his contract; one that will pay him $7.5 million in 2015. Weddle desires to sign a long-term extension, ensuring his place on the Chargers’ roster for the remainder of his career.
Weddle has played in all 16 games of the season for five consecutive years. His career numbers include 772 total tackles, six sacks, 65 passes defensed, 19 interceptions and five forced fumbles.
It goes without saying that Weddle is the leader of the defense, wearing the helmet mic that John Pagano uses to call in the defensive plays. He is one of the only safeties in the NFL to have that distinction. The two-time first-team All-Pro deserves a new contract. He changes the way that the defense can be called. I cannot imagine what it would be like if he were to refuse to show up come training camp.
Mandatory training camp begins on June 16.
Also absent from OTAs Tuesday were Antonio Gates and King Dunlap.