Archive for Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chargers await word on game site

October 25, 2007

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— The San Diego Chargers, some of them forced from their homes by the threat of wildfires, worked out at the Arizona Cardinals' training facility Wednesday and awaited word on where and when their next game will be played.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders planned to decide today whether the Chargers will be able to play Houston as scheduled Sunday at their Qualcomm Stadium home.

"We're waiting as long as we can to assess the need for a shelter as large as Qualcomm," the mayor's spokesman Fred Sainz said Wednesday.

"The mayor, when he spoke yesterday, said the concern is really not a football game, the concern was to assure people evacuated from their homes that they have a a safe place to go," Sainz said. "That remains our priority."

After the workout in Tempe, running back LaDainian Tomlinson - the NFL's reigning MVP - said that, wherever the game is played, he hopes it's a pleasant diversion to people who have been through so much.

"Even for three or four hours, if you can entertain them, they're going to take their mind off whatever's going on in their world," he said. "That's what we want to do."

Chargers president Dean Spanos said about 40 people in the organization had to evacuate their homes, including "17 or 18 players," because of the fires rampaging in the San Diego area. They included coach Norv Turner, quarterback Philip Rivers and linebacker Shawne Merriman.

"So far, I've heard that there haven't been any homes that have burned," Spanos said, "but I haven't heard that officially."

Other sites being considered were Dallas and Houston.

"I want to play back home, no doubt about it," Merriman said, "but we're going to have to deal with what we're going to have to deal with. A touchdown is still a touchdown, a tackle is still a tackle, no matter where we play at."

An estimated 10,000 people were at the Qualcomm evacuation center Wednesday.

"Obviously we'd like to play there, but it's totally up to the mayor," Spanos said. "I'm hoping this thing clears up by the weekend and we can play."

The team canceled its Monday practice in San Diego because of the smoky conditions, then decided to hold Wednesday, Thursday and Friday workouts in Arizona. The Cardinals have a bye this week.

The Chargers flew to Phoenix on Tuesday night, staying at a hotel in the north part of the city, far from the practice site.

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