The Chargers placed left tackle Jared Gaither on the season-ending injured reserve, ending an unproductive season for a player anticipated to shore up a shaky offensive line.
There’s no doubt that Gaither has the talent to play in the NFL, the problem is that he will not stay healthy.
After being released from the Kansas City Chiefs, Gaither was a late season free agent acquisition in 2011. He allowed only 3 pressures and 0 sacks in the last 5 games for Chargers last season.
“We’ve given Jared Gaither every chance to be a part of this team and it just has not worked out,” announced Coach Norv Turner, who obviously was disappointed at the way that the lineman’s season has gone.
“Clearly, physically, he hasn’t managed to join it.”
Questioned if he was happy with the work ethic of the 6-foot-9, 335-pound Gaither, the Coach said: “It is what it is. There’s not really a lot left to be said about it.”
Gaither played in only 4 games this season. He missed almost all of training camp and the 1st 3 games with a back injury. He injured his groin late in a loss at New Orleans and played in only 2 games since.
In the closing seconds of the New Orleans game, with the Chargers desperately trying for the tying touchdown, Martez Wilson blew past the hobbled Gaither on Philip Rivers’ blind side for a strip-sack and recovered the fumble to preserve the New Orleans Saints´ 31-24 victory.
Gaither was signed off waivers after Marcus McNeill was hurt late last year, and played well in the final 5 games. The Chargers gave Gaither a 4-year, $24.5 million deal in March.
Rivers has been under siege the majority of the season due to the line’s poor play. Adding to San Diego’s woes was the retirement of left guard Kris Dielman thanks to a concussion.
Rivers has thrown 14 interceptions and lost 4 fumbles this season, giving him 43 turnovers since the start of the 2011 season.
Undrafted rookie Mike Harris has filled in for Gaither, and had to face Terrell Suggs of the AFC North-leading Ravens on Sunday.
“I don’t know precisely what we would have done without him,” Turner said about Harris. “He’s a guy who’s improved and working as hard as he can. He’s been in some tough matchups and he’s managed to the very best of his ability.”
Questioned if he’d like to see Gaither back next year, Turner announced: “You know we’re going to start getting those questions about a lot of things. I’m curious about doing what we are able to give this team the best opportunity to win the Ravens game. Obviously, after that we move on to the next opponent.” Basketball scores
Turner is expected to be fired if the Chargers miss the playoffs for the 3rd straight season. At 4-6, the San Diego Chargers have all but conceded the AFC West title to the Broncos and are a longshot to secure a wild-card berth.
The San Diego Chargers are expected to sign tackle Kevin Haslam from the practice squad to the active list.