SAN DIEGO — When the Chargers acquired linebacker Vernon Maxwell from Indianapolis last month, they were gambling on so-called potential.
Tuesday afternoon, they made it obvious that potential was not enough by placing Maxwell on waivers along with safety John Turner, cutting the roster to 50 players.
The Chargers then added defensive back Liffort Hobley from the waiver wire, but were forced to cut defensive back Ronnie O'Bard to keep the roster at the limit. Hobley played for Louisiana State last season and was Pittsburgh's third-round draft choice.
The Chargers must cut five more next week to reach the NFL regular-season limit of 45.
Maxwell, a second-round Colts' draft choice in 1983, was obtained by San Diego for a fifth-round draft choice. He had been considered a talented player with an attitude problem.
"He just didn't fit into our scheme of things, I'll put it that way," Coach Don Coryell said. "By cutting him now, he has a chance to hook on with someone else. That isn't the reason we cut him. We feel we have other linebackers ahead of him."
Turner had been acquired from Minnesota for a third-round draft choice last year. He started six games when the Charger secondary was depleted by injuries. He had two interceptions.
The Chargers bolstered their secondary this year by drafting Wayne Davis and Jeffrey Dale in the second round and John Hendy in the third.
"We're looking for people who can cover man-to-man," Coryell said. "We felt we had younger people as good or better (than Turner). As they gain experience, they'll no doubt be better."
O'Bard was among the final cut in 1984. He is an alumnus of Monte Vista High School, Grossmont College and BYU.
With Bobby Micho on injured reserve and Kellen Winslow physically unable to perform, the Chargers are down to two tight ends--Pete Holohan and Eric Sievers. Holohan has not played for two weeks following ankle surgery, but he is expected to play Friday night against New Orleans.
Coryell indicated the Chargers may be in the market for another tight end.
"As of right now, we'll wait for Kellen," he said. "If someone good comes up on the waiver wire or we could make a trade, we'll think about it."
Holohan's return is of two-fold importance. He is considered the Chargers' "disaster quarterback" if all other quarterbacks are injured. Holohan was an all-state prep quarterback in New York but switched to tight end as a freshman at Notre Dame.
While Dan Fouts sits out Friday's exhibition game with a slight groin injury, Bruce Mathison and Mark Herrmann may be battling for a chance to stay on the roster.
Coryell hinted Tuesday that the team is leaning toward keeping only two quarterbacks.
"That 45th man is so important," Coryell said. "We'll probably carry two quarterbacks unless Dan has that groin injury. Then, we'd change our plans in a hurry."