Chargers’ release of Scifres is another dose of perspective for how quick careers pass

Posted: 05/01/2016 in football
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Things change fast around the NFL and the release of longtime San Diego Chargers punter Mike Scifres once again reminded me of that fact.

There are now only two players left in the organization that I covered: Quarterback Philip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates.

Repeat, two.

Just a few months ago, there were still five players remaining who had received the thrill of getting interviewed by me. (Hope you recognize sarcasm when you see it).

But receiver Malcom Floyd retired, safety Eric Weddle was allowed to depart as a free agent and now this weekend’s release of the 35-year-old Scifres, who averaged 45 or more yards per punt in eight different seasons.

Hey, I still have Rivers’ number in my cell phone. Bet it has been changed four or five times since I last called him.

NFL careers don’t last long — the average tenure is a little more than three years — so turnover isn’t surprising. It just jumps out at you when you have a succinct measuring point like I do.

In fact, I covered the Chargers for five years in the late 1990s too before I moved over to run the San Diego State beat. When I returned to cover the Chargers in early 2007, I scanned the roster closely.

Yep, there were only two players remaining from my first term of covering the team: Defensive tackle Jamal Williams and long snapper David Binn.

Even good-guy general manager Bobby Beathard was gone and the general manager was A.J. Smith, who had a reputation of being hard to deal with. Smith wouldn’t talk to two different beat writers — it was easy to tell why he wouldn’t talk to the one guy; but the other guy he wouldn’t speak with was the nicest and most easy-going sports writer in San Diego history.

If you’re wondering, I never had any issues getting along with Smith. I think it was because he respects sports writers who are direct and honest with him — guys who just flat-out ask the tough questions as opposed to writers who are chronically petty or excel at being a wise guy.

Basically, the type of people who last for long stretches in an NFL organization are guys who don’t put on the uniforms. They are the kind of people fans and the public at large don’t care about it.

But the players? They come and go fast.

Really fast.

The release of the best punter in Chargers’ history attests to that fact.


Joey Bosa you ask?

I have an open mind about the Chargers selection of Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa with the third overall pick in the draft.

He was one of the best college players in the country in 2014 when he had 13.5 sacks among 21.5 tackles for losses. But he didn’t come close to following up that campaign last season when he began the season with a mysterious suspension and ended up with just five sacks.

But his stock didn’t drop at all and he was the first defensive player off the board. The Chargers badly needed to upgrade at the position and only time will tell if Bosa develops into a double-digit sack artist in the NFL.

Even if the Chargers were tempted to take an offensive lineman with their pick, the shenanigans involving Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil should have scared them off. The tweet of Tunsil smoking dope while wearing a gas mask is just the latest of many character flaws in his background.

I think the Chargers did right by going with Bosa.


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