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Chargers GM: 'We lost a couple of great players'
As expected, San Diego restricted free agents Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill didn't sign their tenders by the June 15 deadline. Now, Chargers general manager A.J. Smith says the team is preparing for the 2010 season without them.
"We lost a couple of great players [Tuesday], and it hurts," Smith told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "We are trying to build a championship team, and losing the services of both Vincent and Marcus just made that more difficult -- but not impossible. In due time, Coach [Norv] Turner will name two new starters. We will rally as a team, compete and try to win as many games as we can."
The two players do not plan to report for the start of training camp and quite possibly well beyond, league sources have told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. The Union-Tribune is reporting that the two players plan to hold out until after Week 10 of the 2010 season unless they receive long-term deals or are traded.
Jackson and McNeill need to play six weeks to get credit for an accrued season.
As a result of not signing their tenders, the Chargers have cut McNeill's salary from $3.168 million to $583,000 and Jackson's salary from $3.268 million to $600,000.
The 26-year-old McNeill is a two-time Pro Bowl left tackle, in charge of protecting quarterback Philip Rivers' blindside.
The 27-year-old Jackson has had two straight seasons with more than 1,000 receiving yards and has led the league in each of those years in average yards per catch.
The Chargers have prepared for Jackson's and McNeill's absences, signing wide receiver Josh Reed and offensive tackle Tra Thomas this month.
"It was a very unpleasant situation we all had to deal with," Smith told the Union-Tribune. "It came to a conclusion [Tuesday]. We will now move forward and focus on the upcoming season."
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter contributed to this report.