Two starting offensive lineman fail to show at camp

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Chargers welcomed new left tackle
Roman Oben on Friday, only to have two other projected starters
from their shaky offensive line stay away from the opening day of

Center Jason Ball was a no-show because he wants to be traded,
and guard Toniu Fonoti, who missed all of last year with injuries,
was absent without an excuse. Star running back LaDainian Tomlinson
wasn't particularly pleased, since the Chargers' biggest rebuilding
project is the line.

"Both of those guys, we absolutely need them here because
they're starters on the offensive line," said Tomlinson, who
rushed for 1,645 yards last year despite San Diego's nondescript

Ball had been asking for a new contract, and now he's demanding
a trade. The Chargers, an NFL-worst 4-12 last year, declined the

"I think he should be here," Tomlinson said. "In my opinion,
that's no way to handle a problem, really. If you're not here,
you're not able to talk to people. You're not able to get things
done. If he were holding out and still communicating, that's a
different story. When you're holding out and you don't say anything
to anybody, it's hard to get things done."

Ball has started 21 games in his first two NFL seasons. An
undrafted free agent, he started the last 13 games of his rookie
season in 2002 after Cory Raymer was hurt. Ball made eight starts
last year but missed eight others with an ankle injury.

"He instructed me to ask for a trade," said his agent, Peter
Schaffer. "I did, and they declined. Jason feels pretty strongly
about his position."

Ball is an exclusive-rights free agent who was tendered a
$380,000 contract for next season, which he didn't sign.

General manager A.J. Smith said Ball needs to show up before
he'll talk about a new deal.

"Jason Ball's pretty much established he'd like some more
money. We're not going to do that right now. Just come back to work
and we'll discuss it. His position is, 'Give me a contract first,
then I'll show up.' No, that's not going to happen."

Fonoti was at the Chargers' complex earlier in the week.

"We're expecting him to be here, and he's not right now,"
Smith said.

Coach Marty Schottenheimer said all he knew was that Fonoti was
in Houston. "He's supposed to be here," Schottenheimer said.

Fonoti was a second-round pick out of Nebraska in 2002 and
started 14 games as a rookie. He missed all of last season with a
foot injury. Listed at 350 pounds, he's battled his weight in his
two pro seasons.

Fonoti was absent from some voluntary workouts earlier this year
due to an illness in the family.

Oben was acquired from Tampa Bay on Wednesday for a fifth-round
draft pick in 2005.