Chargers Still Busy Inking Free Agents

Signs are the Chargers aren't resting when it comes to acquiring players. Still feeling the sting of two straight playoff-free years, the team continues it strong surge into free agency by snagging more players. Although some of those returning are former Chargers, it really doesn't matter: In showing but one playoff win in four years, the Chargers are being aggressive in getting it right in 2013.

Two players with familiar resumes have been brought back in defensive tackle Antonio Garay and defensive end Luis Castillo.

Garay, while not spectacular, has been steady in starting 28 games for the Chargers over the past two seasons. His 108 tackles and eight sacks over that span eclipse anything any other Chargers' defensive lineman has done.

The Chargers allowed Garay to test free agency, but always with the option that he could return. He did thanks to a two-year contract.

Castillo, a former first-round pick of the team, broke his leg in last year's season opener and never returned, although the Chargers kept a roster spot open for him for most of the season.

In seven years with the Chargers, Castillo has started 86 games.


WR Roscoe Parrish
Kathy Willens/AP
The team also added to its impressive depth at wide receiver with the addition of Roscoe Parrish. But more than counting on his pass-catching skills, Parrish will be expected to give the return game a boost. In seven years with the Bills, Parrish averaged 12 yards on punts and scored three times.

He joins a unit that also features newcomers in Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal. They join returners Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown as the Chargers try to overcome the loss of Pro Bowler Vincent Jackson with numbers, instead of singular stars.

The Chargers added to that group when signing another receiver/returner in Tampa Bay's Micheal Spurlock.

"I feel very, very good about our offseason so far," team president Dean Spanos told his team's website. "We've been very proactive in free agency, probably more so than in most recent years. I feel like we filled a lot of needs and we got better at those specific positions."

Has general manager A.J. Smith's work positioned the Chargers back into the playoff picture? For the sake of his, and coach Norv Turner's job security, Smith better hope so.

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Chargers' exhibition season is enticing, especially its home portion. The team will host the Green Bay Packers on national television on Aug. 9 and also welcome the Cowboys the following week; a firm date has yet to be determined. The team will then travel to Minnesota (TBA) and then to San Francisco on Aug. 30. "From a fan's perspective, you couldn't ask for a better start than to face the Packers and the Cowboys right out of the gate," coach Norv Turner said. "All four preseason opponents will be a great test for our players and coaches in preparation for the 2012 season."

--With the Cowboys playing at Oakland on Aug. 13 and then the Chargers later in the week, it's possible the two teams will have some joint practices, as was the case last year when the Chargers traveled to Dallas. Turner, the Cowboys' offensive coordinator for two Super Bowl titles, often mentioned how beneficial those workouts were.

--Nike has released the Chargers' 2012 uniforms, but there's been little tinkering with the outfits. The uniforms are the same color scheme, which disappoints fans wanting the Chargers to return to their classic powder blue hue.

--OT Mario Henderson wrote on his Facebook page that he will play for the Chargers after being released by Oakland early in the 2011 season.

--The team remains interested in bringing free-agent FB Jacob Hester back.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We are continuing to work with the community on plans for a multi-use facility, one that will work for not only the Chargers and Super Bowls, but also for other major events such as the NCAA Final Four. I think there is a consensus developing about the need for, and the merits of, such a multi-use facility." - Chargers president Dean Spanos, on the team's website, about the progress of the team's hopes of building a stadium in downtown San Diego.

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