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Charger Notebook : Benirschke Still Waits for a Turn

August 31, 1987|CHRIS ELLO

LA JOLLA — Rolf Benirschke was walking around training camp Sunday afternoon looking for Coach Al Saunders. Earlier in the day, Saunders had seen Benirschke and told him he wanted to talk.

Benirschke is concerned about losing the kicking job he has held for the better part of 10 seasons to Vince Abbott, a second-year pro who has made three-of-four field-goal attempts in exhibition games. Benirschke, meanwhile, has been relegated to kicking extra points, of which he has made five of six.

For Benirschke, though, there was no news. Saunders had been busy during the afternoon and missed his meeting with Benirschke.

"I just wanted to meet with him and try and get him back on an even keel," Saunders said. "Rolf has a tendency to be emotionally up and down. No decision has been made on the kicking situation and it will not be made until the time comes."

Saunders said he would not be able to say when that time is because there are too many factors included. Mainly, he said, you never know when another team might express interest in either kicker.

Benirschke, meanwhile, is still concerned.

"I think the situation is pretty clear," Benirschke said. "He's getting a chance to kick and he's done the job. I haven't had a chance. I've never been involved in a situation like this before, but there's only so much you can control and I'm not sure I can control this.

"I don't know if they're going to let me kick this week (in the final exhibition game against the Jets) or not. But I have no intentions of giving up the fight."

Wayne Sevier, Charger special teams coach, said too much was being read into the situation.

"We know what Rolf can do and we wanted to take a look at the young kickers during the preseason," he said. "We've only had an opportunity to try six field goals. Had we tried more I'm sure Rolf would have kicked.

"When I was with the Redskins a couple of years ago, the same situation arose with Mark Moseley. We had a young kicker (Danny Harris) and Moseley had to stand by and watch him kick during the preseason. As it turned out, Mark retained his job."

In that instance, however, Harris did not kick well and the Redskins kept Moseley. Abbott has made field goals of 44, 39 and 41 yards. The one field goal he missed, a 43-yard attempt against the Rams, hit the right upright.

Steve Feldman, agent for unsigned linebacker Thomas Benson, said he will call Steve Ortmayer, Charger director of football operations, today to work out a deal for the unsigned linebacker.

But Feldman, who discussed Benson's contract with Ortmayer Saturday, said the Chargers must "change their stance" before any negotiating can continue.

"I was very disappointed with our meeting Saturday," Feldman said Sunday. "We came to make a deal. They came to shove $230,000 down Tom's throat. They didn't come to negotiate Saturday.

"You can't negotiate with somebody who says no at every turn."

Feldman said Ortmayer made an offer of $230,000 on a one-year contract Saturday.

Ortmayer could not be reached for comment Sunday, but said Saturday that it is up to Feldman to initiate further contact.

"We will continue to bend over backwards to get this done," Feldman said. "I'm thinking about going down and camping out at (Ortmayer's) door."

Chris De Luca contributed to this story.

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