Following the lifting of the lockout, there was plenty of uncertainty around the league about what has and hasn’t changed. One thing that hasn’t changed is the San Diego Chargers were a step ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and most of the NFL in how they handled a new wrinkle in the labor dispute.
Around 11 a.m., Rivers was in the Chargers Park lobby chatting with Antonio Gates and Jacob Hester when Chargers President Dean Spanos arrived and walked over to the group. The men exchanged pleasantries, and Rivers and Spanos spoke for a moment.
A few minutes later, head coach Norv Turner came down the stairs and spent several minutes speaking with Rivers.
Rivers has maintained a low profile regarding the labor war between owners and players, and he preferred to do so Tuesday. But he has organized player workouts away from Chargers Park the past month and said, “I hope that workouts at the facility and normal day-to-day operations are right around the corner.”
Much like the team workouts that Rivers has been planning, showing up and speaking with his head coach isn’t going to guarantee the Chargers anything once the 2011 season kicks off. It’s just that extra something that makes him the leader of the team and call it silly but I would have loved to see Matt Cassel walking into Arrowhead Tuesday morning as soon as the doors opened.
The reasoning behind the Chiefs players staying home makes perfect sense and there was clearly no need for everyone under contract to show up. It would have sent the right message for Cassel to be there showing he is ready to get back to work.
It kills me to do it, but I have to give credit to the Chargers franchise for not shunning their players. Short of the New York Giants who let their players work out at their facilities (though they changed course just hours later) there aren’t many teams that handled this unique situation better. Only the Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills reportedly refused to let their players enter their buildings, while most others didn’t allow the coaching staff and players speak.
Again, the division isn’t going to be taken by the team that “wins” during the lockout. Though it sure doesn’t hurt matters either.