Ryan Mathews, Dwight Freeney, Antonio Gates not in attendance for OTAs

By Ernie Padaon

Dec 22, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) is defended by Oakland Raiders linebacker Nick Roach (53) during the first half at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Attendance in voluntary for this portion of OTAs and the team has a few vets missing from the first day of OTAs. Ryan Mathews, Antonio Gates and Dwight Freeney were all missing from the field in the first day of practice. Remember that this first portion of OTAs is “voluntary.” Fans and teams may want them on the field, but they really don’t have to be out there at this time. Some players may be finishing up their vacations and plan on returning in the middle of the OTA sessions. Vets may be looking to skip out on some of the work at the start of the season in order to get a little more rest.

Dwight Freeney had been working with his own trainers in the past and they may be what he is doing again this offseason. He also is recovering from a major injury and may need more rest before he gets back. It would be ideal to have all the players out there. The vets could help out the youngsters a little more and could give them guidance at this time. If they are out, they are out.

Interesting that Gates is out for OTAs. I usually think of him as someone who is there at the start with the rest of his teammates. Also interesting that Ryan Mathews is out at the start as well.