Suntan lotion and cold drinks are necessities at most Charger games. But the most important item this year is going to be a program, and one printed late in the week, at that.
The most extensive shuffling of personnel in the club’s history continued Tuesday as the Chargers placed two players on injured reserve and replaced them with an offensive lineman and a defensive back.
Added to the club’s lengthy list of injured were defensive back Terry Lewis and running back Buford McGee. Joining the active roster were center Rich Umphrey and defensive back Ronnie O’Bard.
The latest batch of moves caused Coach Don Coryell to wonder if the Chargers had set a pro football record of some sort.
Before Tuesday’s moves, the mathematics involved in counting faces was daunting. Of the 49 men in uniform for the 1984 season opener, more than half (25) were no longer listed on the roster. And of the 56 veterans whose pictures appear in the 1985 media guide, 28 no longer are active.
“We have 19 or 20 new men on our roster of 45,” Coryell said. “We added (defensive lineman) Tony Chickillo for our last game of 1984, but he really should count as a new man. So 9 of our 22 players on defense are new and 10 of 21 on offense.
“What we’re trying to do is be competitive with a new team. It’s our desire and interest to do it (rebuild) in one year. In essence, we’ll have 20 new faces out of 45.”
And that’s not even counting the possibility that running back Gary Anderson of the Tampa Bay Bandits could be signed in time for Sunday’s season opener at Buffalo.
There was renewed speculation Tuesday that the trade of running back Earnest Jackson to Philadelphia a day earlier was an omen that Anderson was all but packaged for delivery. The Chargers obtained two draft picks, believed to be a fourth and a seventh, for Jackson.
Owner Alex Spanos, however, cautioned against assuming the Anderson deal is automatic.
“No one works as fast as I do,” he said, “but I’m still waiting on this one. I hope to be hearing something this week.”
Spanos also suggested that this year’s heavy turnover may not be a one-time thing. If the team doesn’t win, there could be further house cleaning, he said.
Meanwhile, the Chargers welcomed the addition of a couple of offensive linemen, including Umphrey and Gary Kowalski, obtained Monday from the Los Angeles Rams in a trade for receiver Bobby Duckworth.
Coryell indicated Umphrey would initially be employed as a center and long snapper, with Kowalski to receive time at tackle.
Coryell said tackle Jim Lachey, who suffered a concussion 10 days ago, should be ready for this week’s game. Guard Jerry Doerger, whose left hand is encased in a cast, also should be ready.
The Chargers are undecided on who will be the holder for field goals and extra points in the wake of the departure of quarterback Bruce Mathison, waived Monday.
Among those being considered for the job are punter Ralf Mojsiejenko, quarterback Dan Fouts, receiver Wes Chandler and tight ends Pete Holohan and Eric Sievers.
Mark Herrmann, whose edge in experience landed him the No. 2 quarterback job, has the flu and was unable to practice Monday. Coryell, however, expects him to be fine by the weekend.