It’s been an offseason of turnover for the Chargers. That’s not a pun about the 47 turnovers quarterback Philip Rivers has coughed up the past two years. Since the conclusion of the 2012 season, San Diego’s NFL club has parted ways with their head coach, general manager and several veteran players.
The attrition extended deeper into the team’s front office on Thursday when the Chargers announced that longtime team physician David Chao had resigned, citing health and family reasons.
“The Chargers organization and our family are all grateful to Dave for the dedication he has demonstrated to provide the best possible medical care to the team and my family over the past 17 years,” said Chargers President Dean Spanos as quoted in a press release. “We wish Dave a successful, full recovery from his upcoming back surgery as well as some much-deserved time with his new twins.”
Serious questions have been raised about the medical care Chao provided to the Chargers and his outside patients. The anodyne release from the team omitted any reference to myriad allegations and legal entanglements involving Chao. In April, Deadspin published an extended piece titled “The Chargers’ Doctor Is A Drunk Quack. Why Haven’t They Fired Him?” That followed NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith’s statement during Super Bowl week that, “despite having previous malpractice liability judgments against him, neither the Chargers nor the NFL initiated an inquiry or provided any oversight of the doctor the team selected to provide care for our players.”
Despite Chao’s popularity with many Chargers players, and the team’s stated reasons for his resignation, it appears that the critical mass of bad publicity may have been his ultimate undoing.
Christopher Wahl, chief of sports medicine at UC San Diego Health System’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and former team physician at the University of Washington, will succeed Chao as head team physician.
You’re reading the Sports Report, our weekly compilation of news and information for the San Diego sports fan.
Chargers a “Farm Team” for the Denver Broncos, Writes U-T’s Acee
U-T San Diego’s Chargers writer Kevin Acee stirred up a mini-firestorm of reactions when he observed that the “Broncos own the Chargers.”
“The two straight division titles weren’t sufficient,” Acee wrote. “The comeback from 24-0 wasn’t the ultimate humiliation. A Manning as their quarterback is not nauseating enough. Now they’re treating the Chargers like their farm team.”
Denver having a Manning (Peyton) as their quarterback is apparently “nauseating” due to San Diego’s history with another Manning (Eli). Peyton and Eli’s father, Archie Manning, helped engineer the trade that saw the Chargers trade Eli, whom San Diego had drafted with the first overall pick in 2004, to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers and draft picks that eventually became Nate Kaeding and Shawne Merriman.
The trade appeared to work out well for both sides initially, but the Giants have gotten the better end of it in recent years as Eli led them to two Super Bowl championships. Kaeding and Merriman are out of football. It remains to be seen if Rivers is forever destined to be a footnote to Manning the Younger’s career.
As for the “farm team” accusation, Acee pointed to the Broncos’ signings of former Chargers veterans Louis Vasquez, Shaun Phillips and Quentin Jammer. The loss of arguably their best offensive lineman in Vasquez certainly stung, but San Diego seemed to determine they could not afford to re-sign him to an extension. The Broncos signed him to a four-year, $23.5 million contract in March.
The losses of the 32-year-old Phillips and the soon-to-be-34-year-old Jammer were more calculated, with the team deciding not to strongly pursue either veteran.
After receiving immediate pushback on his “farm team” column, Acee posted to his Twitter followers:
So none of you who’ve responded so far thinks it’s odd Chargers didn’t want single one of these proven players @ their 3 biggest need spots?
— UTKevinAcee (@UTKevinAcee) June 10, 2013
Then he began to walk back his criticism.
I’ll admit, perhaps better headline might’ve been other phrase I used in column: Broncos own the Chargers. Can’t argue w/ that past 2 years.
— UTKevinAcee (@UTKevinAcee) June 10, 2013
Perhaps one can’t argue with the past two years, during which the Broncos have won two AFC West titles while going 3-1 against the Chargers. Extending beyond that most recent past, however, reveals that San Diego has posted a 9-5 record against Denver since 2006.
Yes, I know: What have you done for me lately?
Other Things About Football
At least the Chargers have finally released second-round pick Manti Te’o from his cone of silence. Te’o was allowed to speak to reports after a minicamp practice this week. “It’s a perfect place for me,” Te’o was quoted as saying. “This organization is full of good people who care about each other. … It’s the perfect situation.”
San Diego is perfect. Glad we got that out of the way.
Speaking of transparency, the NFL has instituted stringent new guidelines for fans coming to their games this season in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.
With the exception of medically necessary items, only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches will be allowed. One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags also will be OK, as will small clear plastic bags approximately the size of someone’s hand, with or without a handle or strap. …
Banned items will include purses larger than a clutch bag; coolers; briefcases; backpacks; fanny packs; cinch bags; seat cushions; luggage; computer bags; and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.
The league is encouraging fans not to bring any bags to games.
San Diego University Teams Pass Academic Muster, MLB Musters San Diegans
Last year the NCAA, the governing body of collegiate athletics, began restricting teams that did not meet certain academic standards from competing in the postseason. The NCAA’s measurement, called the Academic Progress Rate, scores each Division I athletic program according to their grades and graduation rate. The four-year average rate, in which a score of 1000 is perfect, resulted in the University of Connecticut basketball team being ineligible for the postseason last season despite winning the NCAA championship the year before.
Academically-oriented University of San Diego’s programs sailed through, with the exception of their checkered basketball program, which posted a multi-year score of 936 (still well above the cutoff of 900). Potential concern about San Diego State’s eligibility was alleviated when the Aztecs basketball program posted a score of 935.
Starting in 2014-15 the required APR score rises to 930. Aztecs head coach Steve Fisher says, “We’ll have to watch our numbers.”
-University of San Diego star Kris Bryant was drafted second overall by the Chicago Cubs in the MLB amateur draft. The Cubs’ front office was familiar with Bryant from their general manager’s and head scout’s time in the Padres organization. I guess one could make the argument that San Diego is Chicago’s “farm team.” But why would one want to do such a thing?
Padres Continue Being Not Entirely Mediocre
The Padres went 4-2 in the past week, with two narrow losses bracketed around a win over the Colorado Rockies preceding a sweep of the Atlanta Braves at Petco Park. The 32-34 Padres’ competitive and entertaining brand of baseball of late has them well within shouting distance of NL West-leading Arizona. The Diamondbacks, fresh off a wild brawl with the L.A. Dodgers in Chavez Ravine, come to San Diego tonight for a three-game weekend series.
GIF of the Week: Whoa. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly gives Diamondbacks bench coach Alan Trammel the heave-ho.
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