Chargers : Little Progress Seen in Bernstine Contract Talks

Times Staff Writer

Top draft choice Rod Bernstine is only $25,000 away from signing a Charger contract, his agent said Sunday.

"Listen, $25,000 a year, that's beer money to NFL teams," Ralph Cindrich said.

But it's a lot of money to the Chargers, Cindrich said. Asked if Bernstine would be signed any time soon, he said: "It doesn't look very good.

"(Bernstine) has shown his commitment to the organization. Do you know how many first-round rookies show up for preseason drills? Not many, but he did. And it's one thing if he falls on his face. He didn't. He can go right into that offense and be the difference in three or four games at least."

Steve Ortmayer, Charger director of football operations, was not available for comment Sunday.

Charger Notes Sunday's injuries: Wide receiver Trumaine Johnson (shoulder), and cornerbacks Wayne Davis (back) and Thomas Wilcher (thigh) are day-to-day; Linebacker Joe Mauntel (knee sprain) and guard Jeff Walker (knee sprain will be out 2-3 days; and tackle Joe MacEsker (elbow) is out indefinitely. . . . Quarterback Dan Fouts (sore lower back) again skipped practice. Mark Herrmann took work with the No. 1 offense; Rick Neuheisel worked with the No. 2 offense. . . . No progress was reported with the following unsigned veterans: linebackers Billy Ray Smith and Thomas Benson, guard Dennis McKnight, nose tackle Chuck Ehin and defensive end Earl Wilson. The Chargers still don't even know Wilson's whereabouts. "He's still underground somewhere," Coach Al Saunders said. "But hopefully, not literally."

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