The San Diego Chargers signed left tackle Marcus McNeill to a six year deal worth $48.9 million in 2010. McNeill made the Pro Bowl in 2006 and 2007, but a spinal injury led to his release and retirement.
According to Michael Gehlken of utsandiego.com, McNeill tweeted “Don’t call it a comeback. #staytune. #tackles are hard to come by huh… yea told ya so #BOLTUP #boltnation #makingprogress.”
After McNeill suffered his injury, A.J. Smith picked up former Kansas City Chiefs LT Jared Gaither. Gaither was productive in 2011, but missed 12 games with injuries in 2012 and was released last week.
San Diego’s front office is expected to choose an offensive lineman with the 11th pick in round one of the 2013 NFL Draft because the team allowed 49 sacks in 2012 which ranked fourth in the league. Former Oklahoma Sooners LT Lane Johnson could be an option or San Diego’s front office could choose former North Carolina Tar Heels guard Jonathan Cooper.
If McNeill makes a comeback and is healthy, he would be a welcomed addition to the offensive line, and San Diego’s front office could consider going after a cornerback or wide receiver in the first round.
San Diego’s organization and Charger fans saw history repeat itself at the LT position in terms of a guy signing a huge contract, then being released following injury problems. McNeill’s agent claims that he is not making a comeback which contradicts the tweets that McNeill posted.
The Lighting Bolts have to do a better job of protecting Philip Rivers regardless of what happens with McNeill. While signing McNeill could make San Diego’s front office go in another direction with the 11th pick in round one, his spinal injury is a major cause for concern.
I expect San Diego’s front office to choose an offensive lineman in round one of the 2013 NFL Draft because the coaching staff and the front office will not know how McNeill will hold up until he plays games.