Chargers training camp: day one

Rivers not in Chargers camp

The Brees isn't the same, the air is a little strange and the Rivers, well, he isn't at San Diego Chargers training camp, along with unsigned mate Igor Olshansky. Nor was Jason Ball and Toniu Fonoti. Ball was expected but Fonoti – he didn't know camp started on Friday, "Fonoti, I guess, had a misunderstanding on when to report," A.J. Smith declared after practice. Then there was the missing Donnie Edwards. At least LaDainian Tomlinson was there and one new player was added to the team.

"We are disappointed they are not here day one but that is ok," A.J. Smith said of the absence of Philip Rivers and Igor Olshansky, the Bolts top two picks. "We are optimistic and it is going well. It could be done tonight. These things take a turn they take a turn quickly."

Ed McGuire was on site on Friday and did not appear to have a phone in hand. That does not mean he is not working feverishly on the deals. He has been in contact with both representatives and a deal could be struck soon – but how soon is not clear.

The absences of those under contract were noticeable. There was a cloud on the first day of camp, one usually reserved for smiles as football season has officially returned. Instead of talking about this play or that play, the questions were pointedly towards the missing pieces.

"We have had no communication," Smith retorted when the subject of Jason Ball came up. Then he got a little defensive. "I am not going to talk about Jason Ball anymore. Now that we are in camp, we have to concentrate on the guys that we have here."

A reporter then made the mistake of asking a follow up question about Ball and Smith restated his position. It is clear from talking to people around the facility that Ball has been more or less written off.

Toniu Fonoti is another story altogether. Every reporter had their eye out for the behemoth and the low buzz on the sidelines was tailored towards the obvious ‘where is he?'

How 80 other players made it to camp on time and he didn't know is a mystery. And tomorrow when he reports the same old rhetoric will be likely spewed by the coaching staff.

In case you missed it – Fonoti is on his way to the Chargers' Carson training camp complex and is slated to be there on Saturday. Whether or not he will be in uniform is a different story.

"We have been given an indication that he will be here," Schottenheimer confirmed. "There was a miscommunication regarding the time he was supposed to be here. Their interpretation of the time was incorrect."

Donnie Edwards was absent, but in Carson, because he was cut by some glass and required 60 stitches to his left leg. The story on how it happened is a little muddled but it appeared to be an innocent accident with a plate glass that gave him a laceration and it will keep him out of camp for about a week.

It hit his calf and a week was on the low side according to Smith. Edwards' presence in the 3-4 will be missed.

There was one addition to the roster. He wore 39 and had no name on his jersey. He even got chided by his new teammates after one drill, ‘maybe tomorrow we will put a name on that jersey.'

For the second straight year the Chargers bring a Florida State runner to camp. Jeff Chaney is number 39 although rumor is he will wear 43 on Saturday. Nick Maddox was the man last year and he ended up in Cleveland. Chaney has been with New Orleans and Atlanta. He was waived by Atlanta just prior to the start of the season in 2003.

En-lightning news:

It appears that the Oklahoma Drill will be delayed by a day and occur on Sunday. It makes sense since the team will practice twice on Saturday and the drill is a strenuous one. That was the take of one player so it could still happen on Saturday.

Denis Savage can be reached at denis@sandiegosports.net

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