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FitzPatrick May Be Big Fizzle for the Chargers

August 21, 1986|CHRIS COBBS | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Offensive lineman James FitzPatrick, a first-round draft choice from USC, appears to be in some danger of being cut by the San Diego Chargers, who say they are disappointed in his apparent lack of motivation.

Coach Don Coryell said Wednesday that the 6-foot 8-inch, 300-pound lineman "needs to get a fire going."

In announcing that FitzPatrick would be moved from tackle to guard as an experiment, Coryell added, "We want to see what he can do inside. If he's going to make the club, he's going to have to play both positions."

FitzPatrick, nicknamed Fats Patrick by a teammate, reported to the Chargers out of shape at 314 pounds after a week-long holdout that ended with his signing a five-year contract worth about $1.8 million.

Team owner Alex Spanos said Wednesday said he would not hesitate to absorb his investment in FitzPatrick, which included a signing bonus of approximately $500,000.

"I met with my coaches today, and one of the things we talked about was FitzPatrick," Spanos said. "I hope he can make the club. He's still got two weeks (before the final cut to 45 players). I told my coaches I want the 45 best players. . . . I've got deep pockets. Just give me players who can win football games."

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