- Eric D. Williams, ESPN Staff Writer
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SAN DIEGO -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of San Diego Chargers training camp:
After taking Sunday off, the Chargers were in pads for the eighth straight time on Monday at Chargers Park. Players focused on preparation for Thursday's exhibition opener against Dallas at Qualcomm Stadium, running through special teams assignments so guys know when to be on the field. Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said practice focused on work such as end-of-game situations so players are prepared for anything they see on Thursday. "We want to put the younger guys in a position so they understand last plays situations, end-of-the-half and end-of-the-game situations, kicking situations, so if they're in the game they know what to do," McCoy said. The Chargers also announced that the team sold enough tickets to Thursday's game against Dallas to lift the blackout locally on television.
On the injury front, cornerback Brandon Flowers missed his fourth straight practice with an undisclosed injury. Flowers played with a balky knee most of last season but still made the Pro Bowl. He indicated upon his arrival at training camp that his knee no longer was an issue. McCoy would not discuss what type of injury is keeping Flowers off the field, or if he would be back in time to play on Thursday. "He's working to get back healthy," McCoy said. "When he's healthy, he'll get back out on the football field." Along with Flowers, receiver Vincent Brown (calf) and cornerback Marcus Cromartie (undisclosed) did not practice today. Guard Jeromey Clary (shoulder, hip) remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Tight end Antonio Gates missed the last three practices. Gates was excused by the team to attend his sister Pamela's funeral service on Saturday, and is expected to return to the team this week. Defensive lineman Corey Liuget (foot) and center Nick Hardwick (rest) returned to practice on Monday.
Running back Donald Brown hasn't worked as a kick returner since his rookie season with the Colts, totaling one return for 21 yards. Before that, Brown served for a short time as a kick returner in college, averaging 23.3 yards a return on nine attempts at Connecticut in 2006. But Brown sits atop San Diego's depth chart, listed as the team's top kick returner heading into Thursday's game. In a crowded backfield with Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead, serving as San Diego's kick returner offers Brown another opportunity to get a few more touches during the game. "Whenever you're number is called you just try to make the most of it and roll with it," Brown said. "I just look forward to the challenge."
Up next: The Chargers practice at noon ET on Tuesday at Chargers Park. The practice is closed to the public.
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