Smith also announced Tuesday morning that the Bolts have waived running back Jesse Chatman after the fourth-year veteran failed a team physical.
“We’re going in another direction,” Smith said. “We’re pleased with the depth that we have at running back, and we just felt that it was time to move on.”
Chatman was the Chargers’ second-leading rusher in 2004. He carried 65 times for 392 yards (6.0 avg.) and three touchdowns, but team officials were not happy with Chatman’s absence from Charger Park during the offseason.
“Jesse’s lack of involvement in what we were doing here in the offseason led us to go in another direction,” Schottenheimer said. “His weight has been an issue as well as his not being here. I’ve talked to him at length, but we didn’t gain any ground.”
Added Schottenheimer, “The policy is very simple: if you have an injury, you have to be here for rehabilitation and treatment. We had some difficulty with Jesse in that area. His weight has been an issue, and I’ve tried to work with him as best I could. He failed the physical.”
Schottenheimer said that at this point, Michael Turner will be slotted behind LaDainian Tominlinson at the tailback position. Rookie Darren Sproles and fullback Andrew Pinnock are also expected to see time at the position.
For those whose teams are deep enough to carry LT2's handcuffs, here is a good article from http://www.xpertsports.com writer Sam Caplan.
Right now there's a lot of LaDainian Tomlinson owners that drafted Jesse Chatman as a handcuff pick that are pretty upset, and rightfully so. After all, when L.T. had to spend time on the bench to rest a nagging groin injury Chatman impressed by rushing for 392 yards on 65 carries (6 yards per carry) and three TDs. He was most impressive Week Five vs. Jacksonville, rushing for 103 yards on 11 carries with a TD. It’s no surprise that many viewed Chatman as one of the most valuable fantasy backups around. Heck, I’m glad I waited to write my top-ten players to handcuff article because Chatman would have been close to the top of it!
However, the release isn’t a surprise to some. There were reports coming out of the San Diego camp this past spring that Chatman would have to compete to retain his backup job.
So what happened? Why did San Diego drop a player it was once very high on?
Well, the 5’8’’, 215 lbs. wrecking ball known as Jesse Chatman developed a case of Troy Hambrick’s disease. Chatman was not an active participant in the team’s offseason program and packed on some unwanted pounds. He underwent his physical a few days ago and failed it. Instead of giving him a chance to get his act together, the Chargers decided to go in another direction. And that direction is Michael Turner. Run, don’t walk to your waiver wire. He’s the man who is going to serve as Tomlinson’s understudy. Turner was a sleeper heading into the ’04 draft. The former product of Northern Illinois is surprisingly fast for a player who measures at 5’10’’ and 235 lbs.
Some may point to the team’s selection of RB Darren Sproles this past April, but listed at a generous 5’6’’ and 181 lbs., he’s not cut out to be a full-time player. Don’t get it twisted I’m a huge Sproles fan. I think he’s going to be the next Dave Meggett. In fact, there may be some weeks in WCOFF-style leagues where you might spot start Sproles in a pinch based on his return ability and elusive running style.
Chatman’s release does signal that Sproles will see some time in the backfield, but Michael Turner is the man to have if you want Tomlinson’s backup.