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Charger Notebook : Benirschke Set to Announce Retirement Today

December 16, 1987|BILL PLASCHKE | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Rolf Benirschke, the most famous and fabled Charger kicker, is expected to announce his retirement today at a 2 p.m. reception at the San Diego Zoo.

After being acquired by the Chargers on waivers from Oakland in 1977, Benirschke became the club's all-time leading scorer (766 points) and the holder of 15 club records.

But after he missed several key field goals in 1986--as well as his first extra point since 1983--he was traded to Dallas Aug. 31 for a conditional 12th-round draft pick. The Chargers decided to keep 29-year-old rookie Vince Abbott instead.

Benirschke, 32, stayed with the Cowboys only a week before he was cut in favor of Roger Ruzek.

Benirschke, who donated $50 for each field goal to benefit animals, said Tuesday he did not want to comment until the reception.

It will be a limping Indianapolis offense that comes to San Diego to face the Chargers Sunday.

Colt Coach Ron Meyer has announced that Jack Trudeau will be the starting quarterback. That means two things:

1) Former Orange Glen High School star Sean Salisbury, who played nearly a half last week against Buffalo, will be benched.

2) The Colts must really be hurting, because Trudeau is really hurting.

In the Colts' 27-3 loss to the Bills Sunday, Trudeau was knocked out of the game twice .

In the second quarter, he was sacked from behind and driven into the artificial turf, and his helmet was driven into his head, causing a welt over the bridge of his nose. In the third quarter, he was knocked out for good on a sack so powerful that it caused a deep hip bruise.

Because Salisbury doesn't yet know the offense, the Colts can't take a chance on anybody but Trudeau. Regular starter Gary Hogeboom suffered a dislocated right shoulder last month against Houston and can't throw farther than 10 yards.

Despite the presence of running back Eric Dickerson, all of this is wreaking havoc on the team's offensive statistics. The Colts have scored no touchdowns in the last eight quarters, and just six touchdowns in the last four games, all against Houston.

On Sunday, the Colts were 0 for 10 on third-down situations.

Look for Charger defensive end Les Miller finally to come off the inactive list Sunday and play, whether his injured left ankle is still sore or not.

His parents and grandmother, from tiny Arkansas City, Kan., are in town visiting for the first time.

"With them here, even if I was in a cast, I would hide it and go out and play," he said. "This being their first time seeing me as a pro, I have no choice. I have to play."

Miller will be working in pads for the first time this week, and he easily could be activated. He has been out since he injured the ankle last month in the Seattle loss. During his rehabilitation, he has gone from 298 pounds to 283.

"Feeling real light, dude," he said. "Feeling ready."

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