Monday, October 21, 2013
Marion Jones speaks with Chargers
By Eric D. Williams
SAN DIEGO – Coach Mike McCoy said the Chargers had a special guest address the team on Monday, former U.S. Olympic sprinter Marion Jones.
McCoy said the organization set up the meeting for the Los Angeles native to talk about her unique story, which includes admitting that she used performance enhancing drugs in 2007. Jones pled guilty to lying to federal agents about her drug use and was sentenced to six months in prison.
The five medals Jones won during the Sidney 2000 Olympics were stripped by the International Olympic Committee.
Safety Jahleel Addae said ex-U.S. track star Marion Jones delivered a strong message during her visit with the Chargers on Monday.
“It was great to have her here to speak to the team,” McCoy said. “She had a great message, and I’m going to keep that in-house. But I think it’s great for someone from what she’s gone through and what she’s done throughout her career to kind of share her message to the team. The players really enjoyed it. I think they got a lot out of it. So it was great to have someone like her here.”
Jones spoke to the Chargers as part of the NFL’s life skills program. She regularly speaks with young athletes about her ordeal, emphasizing the importance of learning from and overcoming your mistakes.
“It was good,” linebacker Manti Te’o said. “We all learned a lot. It takes a lot of courage for her to stand up and do what she does.
“She talked about always thinking and going through a process before making decisions, surrounding yourself with good people and making sure you’re doing the right things first.”
Said San Diego safety Jahleel Addae: “It was awesome. Growing up and hearing about her story, it was good to actually get to meet her, see her and hear her point of view. She gave us positive advice, and told us to learn from her mistakes, get the right people around you and stay humble.”
Injury update: The hope is that linebackers Jarret Johnson (hamstring) and Donald Butler (groin) heal up enough during the bye week so they can return to action against Washington in two weeks.
Both players missed the past two games because of injuries.
“It’s a great part of where we are at right now, that we have an extra week to let them get back out,” McCoy said. “But they’ll be out there as soon as they’re ready to go. That’s really everybody. As soon as guys get healthy, they’re going to be out there.
“I’m not going to give you an exact date. We don’t have this week to worry about it necessarily. So this will be a great week for everyone to get back as healthy as we can before we go to Washington.”
Once again, the team will have to take a cautious approach with left tackle King Dunlap, who suffered his second concussion of the season in the opening quarter against Jacksonville.
Dunlap missed two games after his first concussion at Tennessee.
“You’re always concerned with any injury on the football team,” McCoy said. “It’s one of those things that we have to do what’s best for him and for the football team moving forward.”
Receiver Keenan Allen suffered what appeared to be a shoulder injury during the game. Allen went to the locker room for further evaluation, but later returned to the game.
The same thing happened with offensive lineman Mike Remmers, who suffered a right ankle injury in the first quarter and left the field on a cart. After getting his ankle looked at, Remmers returned to the field in the second quarter.
McCoy says he does not know when pass-rusher Melvin Ingram will return to practice. Ingram is eligible to come off of the physically unable to perform list. He had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in May, and has been working on agility drills on a side field while the rest of the team practices.
According to NFL rules, the Chargers have four more weeks to get Ingram back on the practice field. After that, the team would have 21 days to place Ingram on the active roster, which means he could be activated as late as the team’s Dec. 12 contest at Denver -- nearly seventh months after his surgery.
“We’ll let you know when he’s back out there,” McCoy said about Ingram.
Rivers takes blame for goal-line scramble: It’s not what Philip Rivers does best -- using his feet to scramble for extra yards and score touchdowns.
However, on the final play of the half against Jacksonville, San Diego’s veteran quarterback said he spotted a seam in the defense and decided he could make it.
But there was a problem -- Jacksonville’s defense quickly closed the gap and Rivers was stopped short of the goal line as time ran out on the opening half.
“As much as I know it, I keep forgetting how quickly that closes up,” Rivers said. “It looked like it was just a walk in. I know it’s a gamble, but it didn’t even look like a gamble. I thought, ‘I can just go score here.’ And it closes in a hurry when you’re not very fast.”
McCoy said Rivers has to throw the ball away in the situation. But he also took blame for San Diego not getting into the end zone on that drive and taking a commanding 21-3 lead into halftime.
“That’s something we’ve got to do a better job of, and throw the ball way,” McCoy said. “He wanted to do possibly something else early on, and we told him this was the plan. We’ve just got to execute better. And that’s on me, too. I’ve got to do a better job of getting the ball in there.”