- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Once upon a time, left tackle was a position of strength and stability for the San Diego Chargers.
That is no longer the case.
For the second straight season, the Chargers have seen their left tackle have his season end because of an injury. San Diego put Jared Gaither on the injured reserve Friday with a groin injury. Thus, undrafted rookie Mike Harris, who has played six games this season, remains the starter, which won’t help turnover-prone quarterback Philip Rivers, who has not been protected well much of this season.
Gaither, who signed lucrative four-year deal with the Chargers in the offseason, was hampered by back and groin injuries all season. He played just four games. He played well late last season after he was claimed off waivers from Kansas City. In San Diego, Gaither replaced Marcus McNeill, who suffered a career-ending neck injury last season. McNeill was considered a top left tackle early in his career, but health ruined a great career and put the Chargers in a tough spot.
They thought Gaither was the answer, but now they are back to Square One.
The massive 6-foot-9 Gaither is talented, but he has never been able to stay healthy. U-T San Diego reports tackle Kevin Haslam is expected to be promoted from the practice squad this weekend.
Meanwhile, receiver/returner Eddie Royal (hamstring) and linebacker Larry English (calf) are out Sunday against Baltimore. Starting guard Tyronne Green (hamstring) is doubtful, and nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin (knee) is questionable.