Harmon, Three Kickers Among Six New Chargers


The Chargers had a busy day in the free-agent market Friday, announcing they agreed to terms with six players, most notably running back Ronnie Harmon, a former first-round draft choice of the Buffalo Bills.

Three kickers were included in the group, but none was Mike Lansford, the Rams' all-time leading scorer who worked out for the Chargers Thursday. The biggest addition was Harmon, the former Iowa player and 16th player taken in the 1986 draft.

The Chargers beat out Phoenix and Washington for Harmon's services in what was an active few days of talks involving the teams and Lou Oppenheim, Harmon's New York-based agent. The Chargers did not release details of the agreement.

Harmon, 25, had been a disappointment in Buffalo since the Bills drafted him with the intention that he would become their top running back. He instead became a role player, most noted for his receiving ability; he actually has more career receiving than rushing yards.

In four seasons, Harmon has rushed 244 times for 968 yards and three touchdowns and caught 144 passes for 1,452 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also has returned a total of 48 kickoffs for 1,009 yards, an average of 21.0 yards.

Last season, Harmon carried only 17 times for 99 yards but caught 29 passes for 363 yards and four touchdowns. His best season was 1987, when he rushed for 485 yards and two touchdowns on 116 carries and caught 56 passes for 477 yards and two touchdowns.

Charger General Manager Bobby Beathard said through a spokesman that the acquisition of Harmon and the earlier Plan B signing of running back Thomas Sanders from the Chicago Bears will not affect the Chargers' interest in running back Gary Anderson, the 1988 team most valuable player who sat out last season in a contract dispute.

Harmon is the second Plan B player the Chargers have taken from the Bills. Last week, they announced the signing of punter John Kidd, a six-year veteran.

The agreement with the three kickers apparently means an end to Chris Bahr's Charger career. Bahr, 37, was signed by the Chargers as a Plan B player last year after 13 seasons with the Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals. He was left unprotected under Plan B by the Chargers this year.

In line to replace Bahr are John Carney, a Plan B free agent from Tampa Bay; Fuad Reveiz, released last season after four years with the Miami Dolphins, and Barry Belli, a former Fresno State player who has spent time in training camp with New England and the Rams.

This does not necessarily mean the end of the Chargers' interest in Lansford, Beathard said through the spokesman. The Chargers are awaiting a contract proposal from Lansford's agent, Leigh Steinberg.

The other two players who agreed to terms with the Chargers were linebacker Henry Rolling, a 1987 fifth-round draft choice who was released by Tampa Bay last season, and defensive lineman Nate Hill, a 1988 sixth-round choice of Green Bay who since has spent time with Indianapolis and Washington.

The Chargers, who have agreed to terms with seven Plan B players, also lost their third Plan B player Friday when punter Hank Ilesic signed with the Rams. Ilesic, who joined the Chargers before the third game of 1989 after 13 seasons in the Canadian Football League, was expendable after the signing of Kidd.

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