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Charger Camp : Primarily, Changes Are Secondary

September 01, 1987|TOM FRIEND | Times Staff Writer

LA JOLLA — Because their secondary is a primary concern, the Chargers are making changes almost daily. Monday, they waived cornerback John Hendy, placed strong safety Jeffrey Dale on the injured reserve list and put newly acquired Martin Bayless in the starting lineup.

Hendy, on the all-rookie team in 1985, missed all of last season with shoulder and knee injuries and still hasn't fully recovered.

"We weren't sure about John's reliability," said Ron Lynn, Charger defensive coordinator. "If we're going to go with seven defensive backs, how much can we count on him? What if he gets hurt again? At this point in time, we couldn't count on him to play the corner in his current physical state."

Hendy could be claimed quickly. Coach Al Saunders said three teams, Tampa Bay, Green Bay and Minnesota, had previously contacted the Chargers about Hendy.

As for Dale, he continues to have pain in his back and won't be ready for the start of the season. He would be eligible to come off the injured reserve list six weeks after the season begins.

"Right now, it doesn't look good for (Dale being ready) in the immediate future," Saunders said.

Bayless, acquired from Buffalo last week, practiced with the starting unit Monday, and Lynn said he was impressed with how fast he has picked up the Chargers' defensive schemes. Bayless started 15 games for Buffalo last season.

Other developments Monday: Outside linebacker Chip Banks, bothered by a sore Achilles' tendon, practiced for the first time in more than three weeks and second-year guard James FitzPatrick replaced seven-year veteran Sam Claphan in the starting lineup.

Banks participated only in 7-on-7 passing drills and felt some slight "burning" afterward.

"It bothered me some moving side to side," Banks said. "But I don't think there'll be a problem playing in Kansas City (the season opener). I want to get in (Friday night) against the Jets."

Claphan started 14 games last season, but FitzPatrick has made steady improvement in his second NFL season.

"(FitzPatrick) is a first-round draft choice, and his time has come," Claphan said. "They're seeing what he can do. I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me."

Charger Notes

The Chargers currently have 62 players on their roster and must be down to 60 today. Coach Al Saunders said he expected to place two players on the injured reserve list, so there will be no more cuts . . . Outside linebacker Woodrow Lowe said Monday he felt a "clicking" in his sore left knee and might need arthroscopic surgery. So he's a candidate for the injured reserve list. So is running back Kevin Scott, who has been bothered by a hamstring pull . . . Steve Ortmayer said he spoke Monday with the agent for unsigned linebacker Thomas Benson, but reported no progress.

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