QB Philip Rivers (Doug Pensinger/Getty)
It was somewhat of a surprise to see Philip Rivers dropping back, hitting receivers and looking pretty good in the recent minicamp. Never mind he is rebounding from an operation which repaired a torn ACL in his right knee.
Then again, the gutsy Philip Rivers played in the AFC title game with a shredded ACL, so maybe it isn't a shock to see him rebound so quickly.
"It feels pretty good," Rivers said. "It's been a good couple months of rehab, and to this point, we've made a lot of progress."
Rivers, though, stayed clear of defenders and was restricted to going against defense which didn't feature pass-rushers.
The sight of him zeroing in on targets in May and jogging without a limp was an encouraging sign for a team eager to make another Super Bowl run.
"This is a hungry group," coach Norv Turner said. "This is a group that has had a lot of success. And it is growing and we can continue to improve and I think we are improved in a couple of areas."
The pain of finishing four quarters shy of the franchise's second Super Bowl remains on the edges. The Chargers fell short last year in New England, but realize, too, that they were compromised by injuries to LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates and Rivers.
"I don't know if you say extra motivation -- we won't be more hungry this year because of how it ended," Rivers said "All last year did was we truly got a taste of what it takes to go win a championship. By falling a couple plays short of getting that championship and getting to go to the Super Bowl.
"I think we made great strides. But that is not something we want to be remembered by, that we won a few playoff games and got beat in the AFC Championship Game."
With each day, that memory gives way to what lies ahead. But for the present, spotting Rivers flinging passes and Tomlinson making cuts at Chargers Park is a welcoming sight.
"I want to do what's right obviously," Rivers said. "They know I want to go, go, go, whenever I can.
"But I've been smart. I really have. I'm not going to do anything silly that can cause a setback for me and potentially hurt the team."
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
--RB Tyronne Gross (not tendered as ERFA).
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
--OT L.J. Shelton: FA Dolphins; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--LB Derek Smith: FA 49ers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--OT Jeromey Clary: ERFA; terms unknown.
--WR Malcom Floyd: ERFA; terms unknown.
--CB Cletis Gordon: ERFA; terms unknown.
--CB Steve Gregory: ERFA; terms unknown.
--LB Marques Harris: RFA; tendered at $1.47M; terms unknown.
--DT Brandon McKinney: ERFA; terms unknown.
--G Scott Mruczkowski: Potential RFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
--QB Billy Volek: UFA; $9M/3 yrs, $3M SB.
--CB Drayton Florence: UFA Jaguars; $36M/6 yrs, $12M SB.
--S Marlon McCree (released).
--FB Lorenzo Neal (released).
--OT Shane Olivea (released).
--K Dave Rayner: Not tendered as RFA/Dolphins; terms unknown.
--RB Michael Turner: UFA Falcons; $34.5M/6 yrs, $15M guaranteed.