As expected, center Nick Hardwick will play in 2012.
Whether it will be with the San Diego Chargers is up to the team. Hardwick is a free agent and he raised questions about his future late in the season when he said he was considering retirement. Yet, Hardwick, 30, told UT San Diego that he will play in 2012. It would have been a major shock had Hardwick retired.
Hardwick told the paper he wants to stay in San Diego and I fully expect the Chargers to re-sign him.
It appears San Diego will have more continuity on the offensive line than it could have had. The paper reiterated that guard Kris Dielman is expected to play. There was a chance he could retire because of a serious concussion that ended his season early. The team is expected to cut left tackle Marcus McNeill and it could re-sign Jared Gaither or draft a tackle with the No. 18 pick.
In other AFC West news:
The Raiders have a connection to one of the bigger name free agents on the market. New Oakland defensive line coach Terrell Williams coached Detroit defensive lineman Cliff Avril at Purdue. Avril will be one of the best players on the market. Avril, who could be franchised in Detroit, could play linebacker in a 3-4 if the Raiders would be interested in that situation.
Still, other needs and a potential limited salary cap could make Avril a tough get in Oakland.
Former Oakland cornerback Stanford Routt met the media during his visit with Buffalo on Monday and declined to focus on his time with the Raiders. Oakland cut him on Monday. Routt will visit the Chiefs on Tuesday.