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Faucette, Macek Left Unprotected : Chargers' Decisions Would Make Veterans Free Agents

February 02, 1989|BRIAN HEWITT | Times Staff Writer

Among the 25 players the Chargers left as unprotected free agents Wednesday were inside linebacker Chuck Faucette and center Don Macek.

Faucette was the team's leading tackler last season before he injured his neck in the eighth game. He spent the rest of the season on injured reserve. Also on the unprotected list were defensive lineman Tyrone Keys and safety Martin Bayless. Faucette, Keys and Bayless are represented by agent Steve Feldman, who has until April 2 to negotiate with other teams for his clients.

Macek, a 13-year veteran from Boston College, started the first five games and spent the rest of the year on injured reserve with a bad shoulder.

The Chargers protected 37 of their 62 players from free agency by naming them on a list submitted Wednesday to the league office. The NFL's other 27 teams also protected 37 players each. The NFL Management Council says it will release the lists today. The lists are an attempt by the league to avoid a judgment against them in their court battle over free agency with the NFL Players Assn.

"Financially this could be a good very thing for these players," Feldman said. "It gives them a chance to market themselves. I think they're taking a chance on Chuck based on the assumption that teams are not going to be interested in him due to his injury."

Keys started 11 games for the Chargers last season but injured his back late in the year and missed the last three games. He had three sacks and two blocked field goals. Bayless started 11 games, but was benched the last two.

Macek said he met Tuesday with Steve Ortmayer, the Chargers' director of football operations, and that Ortmayer told Macek he wasn't going to protect him. But Macek said, "I expect to finish my career here. I think what the Chargers did made sense."

The Chargers declined public comment on the list. But their thinking on Macek is that his age and injury status will prevent other teams for actively bidding for his services. If the Chargers' unprotected players don't sign with a new team by April 2, their contracts revert to the Chargers.

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