The Chargers decommissioned Jason Verrett on Friday because of soreness in his surgically repaired left knee, an injury that could sideline the Pro Bowl cornerback for several weeks, beginning with Sunday's home opener against the Miami Dolphins at StubHub Center.
It was for his own good, coach Anthony Lynn said. Verrett, a first-round pick out of Texas Christian in 2014, played 63 of a possible 69 snaps in Monday night's 24-21 loss at Denver. His form did not match his fortitude.
"He's not moving the way he's moved in the past, he's just not right," Lynn said after Friday's practice. "He's such a competitor, he wants to be on the field, but we have to protect him from himself. I know the way Jason likes to play the game, and right now, he can't play it that way."
Verrett, 26, underwent season-ending surgery last October after suffering a partial tear of his anterior cruciate ligament in Week 4. He spent most of the offseason rehabilitating and played only two preseason series, in the third game against the Rams.
Verrett, who did not practice Thursday and Friday, underwent an MRI test this week, the results of which were not available. Lynn has "no idea" how long Verrett will be out and termed his status as "week to week."
Is there any concern Verrett, a strong cover corner who had 47 tackles and three interceptions during his Pro Bowl season in 2015, could be out for the season?
"Well, we'll always have a plan for that, but if he can make it back, that would certainly help," Lynn said. "He's done everything possible to get back, to be 100%, but right now, we're just not liking what we see, so we're gonna rest him."
Verrett was not available for comment Friday. He will be replaced on Sunday by lead nickel back Trevor Williams, the second-year pro out of Penn State who saw extensive action in 12 games, including five starts, in the wake of Verrett's injury last season. He played 40 snaps Monday night.
Rookie Desmond King, a fifth-round pick out of Iowa who was a preseason standout but played only three defensive snaps Monday night, will see more action. Lynn said Michael Davis likely will be called up from the practice squad to take Verrett's roster spot. If he is promoted, someone will have to be trimmed from the roster.
"It definitely feels familiar to last year," Williams said. "The more reps I get, the more comfortable I am. I played against Miami last year and have a feel for what they're gonna do. I'm ready to go."
Late in the fourth quarter of a 31-24 loss to the Dolphins last Nov. 13, Williams defended a pass in the end zone on third and goal, preventing the go-ahead touchdown and forcing the Dolphins to kick a game-tying field goal.
"I'll bring effort, I'll fly around and play fast," Williams said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to make plays and get some turnovers."
Verrett's loss will be felt, though.
"Any time you have one of your best players go down, it affects your defense a little bit," cornerback Casey Hayward said. "It stinks. Jason battled back from this injury, he put a lot of effort into his rehab. To see a friend go down, knowing all the hard work he put in, is tough."
On the mend
There was more encouraging news about this year's first-round pick. Receiver Mike Williams, a former Clemson standout, practiced Friday for the first time since suffering a herniated disk in his lower back in early May.
The seventh overall pick said he is pain-free and is targeting an October return. Though he participated only in individual drills, it felt good to finally catch his first pass from quarterback Philip Rivers.
"It's crazy," Williams said of his lengthy absence. "It wasn't how I had this planned out, but I'm just going with the flow. Everything happens for a reason. I'm just trying to learn the offense right now, get in shape, be ready to play when my time comes."
Williams hopes the extensive work he's putting in to learn the offense from receivers Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, Travis Benjamin and Geremy Davis will ease his transition into action.
"We talk all the time," Williams said. "I'm just taking bits and pieces from their games and trying to put it in mine. We have a great group of receivers here, so I'm just learning from all those guys."
Inman (groin), defensive end Jerry Attaochu (hamstring) and tight end Sean McGrath (knee) were full participants in practice this week but are listed as questionable for Sunday's game. Rookie safety Rayshawn Jenkins (concussion) was ruled out for Sunday. … Right guard Kenny Wiggins was among 15 guards who played at least 25 pass snaps in Week 1 and did not allow a quarterback pressure, according to Pro Football Focus. Wiggins and his fellow linemen will have their hands full with Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, a five-time Pro-Bowl selection. … Former Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson will be honored with his Hall of Fame ring during halftime on Sunday. … Six players from the original 1960 Los Angeles Chargers — cornerback Dick Harris, safety Bob Zeman, linebacker Ron Botchan, running back Paul Lowe, tackle Ron Mix and guard Orlando Ferrante — will present the organization with a signed football from the 1960 team before the game.