C Nick Hardwick (Donald Miralle/Getty)
This is Southern California, so all these Chargers surgical nips and tucks shouldn't' be all that noticeable. But their offseason illustrates just how wounded the Chargers were when facing, and losing to, the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
Yet three more key players underwent the knife recently as the team tries to get all its operations out of the way before making what the Chargers hope is a run to the second Super Bowl in franchise history.
The latest being put out and cut on where three Pro Bowlers: center Nick Hardwick, linebacker Shawne Merriman and left tackle Marcus McNeill.
Hardwick, who missed four games with a foot injury last season, underwent surgery to repair a foot sprain, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. Merriman, who had a team-high 12.5 sacks last season, had his knee cleaned out in an arthroscopic procedure. McNeill, a Pro Bowl participant in each of his two NFL seasons, had a similar operation done on his shoulder.
Hardwick will be out four to six months but expects to be ready for the season opener. Merriman is going to be down four-to-six weeks. McNeill will be out 2-4 weeks.
These three players just add to the massive list of Chargers being cut on this offseason. That includes quarterback Philip Rivers, who underwent a significant knee operation when his torn ACL was repaired.
Rivers has reported that his rehabilitation is on schedule, and that he is confident he'll be ready for training camp. His operation is usually a six-month recovery period, which would be right around the time the July camp starts.
One key Charger -- for reasons unknown -- has yet to have his operations.
Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jamal Williams, who is gradually showing the wear-and-tear of playing such a demanding position for 10 years, will have both his knees worked on. But the club hasn't reported his operation being done, or even if it is scheduled.
--Could it be the luck of the Irish will help the Chargers next season? Just in case, the usually private A.J. Smith, the team's general manager, accepted an invitation to be the grand marshal in San Diego's St. Patrick's Day parade.
--LB Jyles Tucker gave a USA football all-star team headed to Japan to compete some words of advice at a recent practice at University of San Diego.
"You've got to work hard and don't let anyone tell you that you can't go where you want to go," Tucker told the teenagers. "Don't be playing video games when you can be doing your school work or practicing. If you don't take care of school, you can't play in high school and college." Tucker, an undrafted free agent, had 3.5 sacks in his rookie year.
--QB Philip Rivers has a 25-7 starting mark (regular season). His .781 winning percentage is the second highest by a starting quarterback in the Super Bowl era, second only to New England's Tom Brady (86-24; .782).
--Ex-Charger Wayne Davis, 44, died after battling Lou Gehrig's Disease.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Hopefully I'll get to the big one. Hopefully I'll have a long enough career to get there at least once. But I've got to keep working hard." -- LB Jyles Tucker, on what he hopes to accomplish in his career and a solid rookie season.