Charger Notebook : O’Neal Works Out in Pads With Team

Times Staff Writer

Yes, that was Charger defensive end Leslie O’Neal practicing Friday. In pads. Against other players.

“I was just working out,” O’Neal said, trying to downplay his appearance.

O’Neal is still recovering from a knee injury sustained in 1986. He is not eligible to return until Oct. 16 at Miami.

“Hopefully I’ll be back then,” he said. “But my practicing today was nothing of any significance.”


The Chargers downgraded the injury status of left tackle Gary Kowalski (neck strain) from probable to questionable for Sunday’s home opener against the Seahawks. That means there is a 50-50 chance Kowalski will not play.

It also means if he doesn’t start, John Clay will. Clay is the player the Chargers got from the Raiders this summer in the deal that sent Jim Lachey north. Clay has played little in the first two games.

The man Clay would match up against most of the time is Alonzo Mitz, a third-year defensive end from Florida who has two sacks in two games. But many teams try to match their best pass-rusher against the other team’s weakest blocker, so don’t be surprised if Seattle sends Jacob Green in Clay’s direction.

Green leads the NFL with five sacks.


Charger Notes

The longest Charger losing streak in team history was 11, from Sept. 21, 1975 to Nov. 30, 1975. Their current losing streak is at eight. . . . One of Seattle’s backup cornerbacks is Louis Brock Jr., a second-round Charger pick in 1987. The Chargers cut Brock this summer. Brock then went to the Seahawks for a tryout and ran a poor 40-yard dash. He was on the plane, ready to return home, when he heard the pilot call his name. The Seahawks had contacted the airline. They wanted to keep Brock. It may not be for long. Brock’s spot on the roster will probably vanish when suspended cornerback Terry Taylor returns from his 30-day drug suspension.