- Eric D. Williams, ESPN Staff Writer
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SAN DIEGO -- Sunny skies greeted the San Diego Chargers as the entire team took the field for the first time in preparation for the 2014 season.
Coach Mike McCoy also had to deal with a couple veteran no-shows in the first organized team activity. The practices are voluntary, so McCoy said he had no problem with running back Ryan Mathews, offensive guard Jeromey Clary, outside linebacker Dwight Freeney, inside linebacker Jonas Mouton and tight end Antonio Gates being no-shows on the first day of practice.
McCoy said the absences were expected, and he had no issues with any of the players not being there.
“Not at all,” McCoy said. “We know why they are not here. And we’re going to get better with the guys we have here right now. It’s voluntary, and we know why people are not here.”
Mathews, 26, is in the final year of his rookie contract. The Chargers signed running back Donald Brown to a three-year, $10.4 million contract this offseason, and the University of Connecticut product will actually make more in total compensation in 2014 ($4 million) than Mathews ($2 million) for the upcoming season.
But Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said before the draft that Mathews had no concerns with the signing.
“Ryan is a starting back, so his role will essentially be the same,” Telesco said. “Ryan’s a smart guy. He knows why guys are here, and he knows what his role is. It wasn’t an issue at all.”
Clary is due to make $4.55 million in total compensation for the upcoming season. And with San Diego drafting Notre Dame product Chris Watt in the third round, there’s some thought Clary could be asked to take a pay cut.
But as of right now, Clary is set to make his current salary. San Diego’s first-unit offensive line included King Dunlap at left tackle, Chad Rinehart at left guard, Nick Hardwick at center, Johnnie Troutman at right guard and D.J. Fluker at right tackle.
Floyd’s back: Malcom Floyd, 32, said he’s been cleared for full contact after suffering a serious neck injury in Week 2 of the 2013 regular season against Philadelphia. The veteran receiver worked with the first unit opposite Keenan Allen, and even took a good blow when middle linebacker Donald Butler got caught in the air while going after the ball. Butler braced his impact by grabbing Floyd, and both players fell to the ground.
“I think I’m ready for regular contact now after today,” Floyd said, smiling. “But it felt good. This is something I’ve been looking forward to. There’s no more looking back.”
Hardwick was not pleased with the play, giving Butler an earful afterwards. Butler apologized to Floyd after the play.
Te’o out: Second-year pro Manti Te’o was one of a couple players who did not practice due to injury. Te’o still is rehabbing from foot surgery during the offseason. Tight end John Phillips (knee) and offensive lineman Michael Harris (ankle) also did not practice.
McCoy did not seem too concerned with Te’o being limited on Tuesday.
“We’re just taking it one day at a time with him, like everybody else who has some kind of injury,” McCoy said.
Some tidbits: Players who stood out during team drills includes tight end Ryan Otten, running back Branden Oliver and cornerback Brandon Ghee. … Shareece Wright and Richard Marshall were the starting corners with the first unit. … Javontee Herndon did a nice job catching punts on the side field during practice.
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