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Michael Harris will start in place of Jared Gaither for the San Diego Chargers

The San Diego Chargers picked up Jared Gaither last season after the Kansas City Chiefs placed him on waivers.  Gaither played and started in five games at left tackle for the Chargers.

Gaither became an unrestricted free agent after the 2011 season, and San Diego signed him to a four year deal worth $24.6 million. Gaither’s average salary ranks fifth among all members on the Lightning Bolts.  San Diego has to pay Gaither $13.5 million as that was the guaranteed amount when he signed the deal on March 14, 2012.

Gaither participated in one practice during the off-season, left with back spasms, saw three independent specialists and had an MRI to see what was wrong with his back.

San Diego announced that undrafted rookie Michael Harris will start in place of Gaither at left tackle for the 2012 NFL regular season opener next Monday against the Oakland Raiders.

Harris played four years in college for the UCLA Bruins.  Harris missed seven games during the 2008 season with a high ankle sprain, played with a broken foot in 2009, was suspended for a game in 2010 for a violation of team rules, but started in all 14 games during the 2011 season.

As I stated in a previous article, Marcus McNeill was Gaither’s predecessor at left tackle.  San Diego signed McNeill to a six year deal worth $48.9 million in 2010.  McNeill was not the same as he missed seven games last season with an injury, was released during the off-season and retired.

Gaither was a fifth round pick in the 2007 Supplemental Draft and played with three teams in five seasons from 2007-2011.  Harris went undrafted, so if Gaither’s injury is a long term problem, hopefully San Diego has found a diamond in the rough for the 2012 season.






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