Step On Up
Jared Gaither, left tackle. The sixth-year pro was a life-saver for the Chargers last season. After Baltimore allowed him to leave as a free agent and Kansas City released him, he was claimed off waivers and inserted into San Diego's starting offense. He quickly provided stability to an injury-ravaged line and helped San Diego stay in playoff contention. In the offseason the Chargers signed him to a potential $24.5 million deal that includes virtual guarantees of $13.5 million, but the 6-foot-9, 335-pounder has been missing in action at camp. Reportedly suffering from cramping and back spasms, he has participated in only one practice. Personnel people throughout the league are viewing the situation with arched eyebrows. They questioned when he signed the contract whether his desire would remain as strong once his pockets were full. He has to step up because the Chargers don't have a legitimate option behind him.