K Dave Rayner (Jonathan Daniel/Getty)
The Chargers signed kicker Dave Rayner to take over kickoff duties for the injured Nate Kaeding (bruised lower leg). Kaeding is expected to handle field goals and extra points during the regular-season finale against the Raiders. The Chargers released 12-year veteran Roman Oben to clear space on the active roster.
Dave Rayner entered the league as a sixth-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2005. He recorded touchbacks on 53 percent of his kickoffs during his senior season at Michigan State.
Rayner served as the kickoff specialist for the Colts during his rookie season. Although he only recorded one touchback, his high-arcing kicks limited opponents to 22.3 yards per return.
In 2006, Rayner handled full-time kicking duties
for the Green Bay Packers. He drilled 11 touchbacks on the season and connected on 26-of-35 field goal attempts, including two 54-yarders and seven more from beyond 40 yards.
Rayner began the 2007 season with the Kansas City Chiefs, but was released midseason after connecting on less than 70 percent of his field goals attempts.
Billy Cundiff, Josh Huston and Nick Novak also tried out for the kickoff role.
The fact that the Chargers released Roman Oben to clear space for Rayner indicates that Rayner will likely handle kickoff duties throughout the postseason, too. Punter Mike Scifres could have kicked off in the regular-season finale if the Chargers needed only a short-term replacement.
Oben joined the Chargers in 2004 and started all 16 games at left tackle that season, helping the team to an eight-game improvement from the previous season.
Oben injured his foot in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005 and has never been the same since. The Chargers kept him around in a player-coach capacity.
Oben lost his job as the top backup tackle to Jeromey Clary earlier this season, making his release easier to swallow.