The San Diego Chargers kicked off their Rookie Mini Camp Friday, with all eyes on Manti Te’o. The rookie linebacker, a victim of a high-profile hoax involving a fake girlfriend last year, had his picture taken and posted online during individual drills, team drills and before and during his post-practice press conference.

The media crowd at the Rookie Mini Camp, which was said to be five times larger than usual and included reporters from national media outlets, was so enamored with Te’o and his off-the-field story that they probably didn’t even notice the 32 other rookies on the field, taking instructions from their new coaches.

The regular season starts for the Chargers on Sept. 9.

You’re reading the Sports Report, our weekly compilation of news and information for the San Diego sports fan.

San Diego Padres, Playoff Contenders?

• The Padres have won 11 of their last 14 games, and that has less to do with the team’s stars or its pitching success than it does with the production from young hitters littered throughout Bud Black’s lineup card.

• Bouncing back from a difficult 2012 season, Nick Hundley isn’t about to yield his starting job to “a guy who is unproven and had a good couple months on steroids.” Yasmani Grandal, who was one of the Padres’ best hitters last year, has 16 games left to serve of his 50-game suspension before he can return to the team.

• Instead of taking any bullets away from a stellar bullpen, the Padres are calling up Burch Smith from the AA San Antonio Missions to start at pitcher for Saturday’s game in Tampa Bay. A couple of good outings could be enough to keep him in the rotation for the rest of the season.

Offseason Doldrums Be Damned — People Still Want to Talk Chargers

The Chargers finally replaced Jimmy Raye, who left for the Indianapolis Colts after losing out on the job as Chargers general manager, with JoJo Wooden from the New York Jets. Based on how bad the good-then-bad-again the Jets have been with Wooden there, Chargers fans aren’t quite sure if they’re supposed to be happy about this.

• Mike Hermann, an undrafted free agent QB who the Chargers signed out of Division III Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has the mental make-up to handle a tough pass rush after living through a tough childhood. It doesn’t hurt that he’s 6-foot-5, 260 pounds and has a rocket arm, either.

• Bolts from the Blue writer SDNativeinTX has been taking fans through the early history of the San Diego Chargers. This week, he covered the 1964 and 1965 teams that found a tough enemy in former Chargers QB Jack Kemp.

• Instead of guessing at what is wrong, or not wrong, with quarterback Philip Rivers, Jason Peters poured through the stats to find out whether the blame fell on Rivers or the pieces around him. His final verdict? Everyone deserves at least some of the blame.

Stories You May Have Missed

• Khaled Elsayed wrote a post on Pro Football Focus that broke down which running backs see eight or more defenders “in the box” most often. The Chargers’ Ryan Mathews ranked sixth on the list, meaning that opposing defenses knew that San Diego wasn’t going to pass the ball when Mathews was in the game.

• Sen. John McCain is demanding justice for sports fans, and has introduced a bill that would ban TV blackouts for teams that play in publicly funded stadiums (which is pretty much all of them). Maybe I should’ve voted him for president after all.

• Your GIF of the week is of Nate Robinson, dribbling through the legs of a defender on his way to the basket in the middle of an NBA playoff game.

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I’m John Gennaro, contributor to Active Voice and managing editor of Bolts from the Blue. You can tweet me @jmglion or e-mail me directly at

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John Gennaro

I'm John Gennaro, contributor to Active Voice and managing editor of Bolts from the Blue. You can tweet me @john_gennaro...

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