Chargers : Identity of Starting Center Is Classified Information

Times Staff Writer

It's hard to imagine that the Raiders' game plan could revolve around whether the Chargers start rookie Courtney Hall or veteran Don Macek at center Sunday at the Coliseum in the season opener for both teams.

But just in case, the Chargers aren't saying publicly whether it will be Hall or Macek. Loose lips sink ships. Or some such nonsense.

"The way I practiced today, I probably won't be starting," Hall said Wednesday. "I don't know."

Hall and Macek alternated in practice with the first team.

"I think it's kind of neat," Macek said of the mystery surrounding a position that usually goes unnoticed.

Mum's the word, too, on whether Joe Phillips will play against the Raiders. Phillips, who ended a summer-long holdout by signing Tuesday, practiced for the first time Wednesday.

"They (the Raiders) are the ones that have to figure that out," said Gunther Cunningham, the defensive line coach. "I'm not telling."

Cunningham said Coach Dan Henning will make the final decision on Phillips.

Free safety Vencie Glenn hopes there isn't a jinx associated with the Chargers' annual calendar.

Each month of the year features an action photo of a different Charger. In August, that player was Lionel James, cut before the month ended. This month, the featured player is unsigned free agent Gary Anderson, who several days ago asked to be traded.

Guess who Mr. October is?

"I ain't got no control over that," Glenn said. "But I hope nothing bad happens to me."

The Chargers have signed four players, all waived by them Monday, to their developmental squad: safety Michael Brooks, linebacker Ricky Andrews, offensive lineman Eric Floyd and H-back Craig Davis.

Players on the developmental squad earn $1,000 a week and the right to practice with the team. The NFL allows teams to keep up to six players on it.

Henning said the Chargers would like one of those six to be a quarterback, but that quarterback won't be Jeff Graham, because Graham has signed with Cleveland. Graham, cut by the Redskins, would have been ideal for the Chargers because he was trained in the Washington offensive system that is similar to theirs.

Charger Notes

The injury report for Sunday's Raiders-Chargers game at the Coliseum: Chargers--tackle Joey Howard (leg) and running back Tim Spencer (neck), questionable; strong safety Martin Bayless (ankle), linebacker Joe Campbell (knee), linebacker Jim Collins (hamstring), tight end Arthur Cox (ankle), free safety Vencie Glenn (calf), wide receiver Jamie Holland (hand), guard David Richards (arm), guard Broderick Thompson leg) and linebacker Ken Woodard (knee), all probable.

Raiders--Safety Russell Carter (shoulder) and wide receiver Sam Graddy (leg), out; cornerback Dennis Price (knee), linebacker Jerry Robinson (groin) and guard Newt Harrell (neck), questionable; defensive end Scott Davis (knee), running back Derrick Gainer (knee) and defensive end Howie Long (ankle), probable.

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