Friday, September 17, 1999

Chargers remade roster




BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        San Diego Chargers team officials made it clear that they were dissatisfied with their 5-11 record in 1998 by the way they conducted themselves in the offseason.

        They were anything but inactive after finishing with the third-worst record in the AFC.

        When the Chargers play the Bengals at 1 p.m. Sunday at Cinergy Field, they will have:

        • New quarterbacks Jim Harbaugh, the starter, and Erik Kramer. San Diego traded a conditional draft pick to Baltimore for Harbaugh, and signed Kramer as a free agent.

        • New wide receiver Jeff Graham, an eight-year veteran also signed as a free agent.

        • A healthy Natrone Means. The bruising veteran running back last year rushed for 883 yards in 10 games.

        • Eric Hill, a top veteran linebacker from the St. Louis Rams, was also acquired.

        • Mike Riley, who led Oregon State to a combined 8-14 record in two years, was hired in January as San Diego's 12th head coach, replacing interim coach June Jones.

        The Chargers also have offensive tackle John Jackson, a Woodward High graduate now in his second year with San Diego and 12th in the NFL.

        “We're definitely better than what we were last year,” linebacker Junior Seau said.

        It didn't show in the preseason. San Diego went 0-5 — the first winless preseason in franchise history — and owns a 10- game losing streak dating back to the last five games of 1998.

        Both teams have to think this is a winnable game. The Bengals are a one-point favorite and scored 35 points last weekend. San Diego has scored that many points just once a year the last three seasons.

        The Chargers are, however, in first place in the AFC West at 0-0. The other four teams (Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, Seattle) lost last weekend.

       



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