Morning Dump

By Ernie Padaon

The mighty NFL was back in business, which prompted Chargers coach Norv Turner to grace the team’s double-wide media trailer Wednesday. The klieg lights were blazing, the cameras’ red lights were flickering, and the assembled members of the fourth estate were primed.

Chargers tight end Antonio Gates did the opposite Thursday. He admitted that his right foot isn’t 100 percent. The torn plantar fascia that rendered him virtually useless after an Oct. 31 game against Tennessee is significantly improved, but it isn’t healed in the strictest sense.

The free agent bonanza is underway in the NFL and a number of deals have been agreed to. One of the most eye-catching deals has been the one that safety Eric Weddle received from the San Diego Chargers, a five year, $40 million dollar deal, with $19 million guaranteed. While that may seem like a huge number, Weddle is a big part of San Diego’s success on defense. He was the quarterback of the secondary, he is 26-years-old, and he has gotten better every season as his career has gone on. The price tag is high and it has some people questioning it. The bottom line is Weddle was not a player San Diego could afford to take out of their secondary, he was the best safety on the market, and has shown flashes of Pro-Bowl ability. He’s worth the price tag.

The signing of the wide receiver out of San Diego State leaves just first-rounder Corey Liuget and third-rounder Shareece Wright unsigned. But that could change soon, according to those familiar with the talks.

A pair of longtime Chargers lost their lightning bolts on Thursday evening. One was summarily dismissed. One left of his own volition.