Quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver, who refused comment after Sunday’s 24-21 loss to Kansas City, continued his vow of silence Wednesday--for a while.
“I’m not talking to you guys,” Tolliver said. “I’m mad at you guys, so I’m going to pout.
“It doesn’t matter what I feel about it; it doesn’t change anything. So I’ve got nothing to say except I don’t need to be a distraction right now. I’ll help Mel (John Friesz) as much as I can help Mel, and then I’ll pout in my own time.”
Tolliver later relented and offered a few remarks to reporters on being replaced by Friesz as the team’s starting quarterback.
Asked if this was eating him up, Tolliver said, “Let’s just say I didn’t buy a house.”
Tolliver was handed the starting job in training camp, but Coach Dan Henning gave it to Mark Vlasic for the season opener. Tolliver said he will not soon forget how he felt after losing the starting assignment for the regular-season opener in Dallas.
“It wasn’t any great thrill to be benched going back to my home state,” Tolliver said. “That one may be the one I remember the most. I guess maybe Dan’s disgusted in my play and he decides to make a move. All I can do is raise my level next training camp.
“I play to win, that’s all I can say. Things happen that don’t go in my favor, but I’m not the first guy they’ve ever happened to.”
Asked if this move was indication that club has lost faith in him, Tolliver said, “Let’s hope not. All this does is maybe I lose a little face with my boys, the guys I’m in the huddle with. Maybe I drop a little respect from them, who knows.
“When it’s time to get the competition going again, I’ll throw my hat in the ring and go from there. As a player you want to be a team guy, but there is a little selfishness going on where you want to play. And I want to play.”
Vlasic, who opened the season as the Chargers’ starting quarterback, said there are two ways to look at the promotion of Friesz.
“You can look at it and say I’m written off and they don’t want anything to do with me,” Vlasic said. “Or let’s see what John can do.”
Vlasic has been Tolliver’s backup throughout the season, but the team leapfrogged over Vlasic to use Friesz.
“I’m disappointed. If you go through and take the starter out, the obvious situation is to have the next guy in line go in,” Vlasic said. “I just have to do all I can to support Friesz.”
After his first practice with the team, Henning said Friesz “was naturally a little rusty.
“He threw the ball well some, and he has some natural questions that come when you haven’t been in there running the team. But he was alert and anxious.”
Tolliver worked behind Friesz on Wednesday and Vlasic will work as his backup today.
Friesz is still on the team’s injured reserve list, but is expected to take the roster spot of defensive end Burt Grossman, who has three fractured ribs.
“I’m real excited because I get the opportunity to do something Sunday that I’ve dreamt about forever,” Friesz said, “and just about every kid in America has dreamt, and that’s to start in the NFL.”
The Chargers are eight-point underdogs to the Raiders, who already have qualified to advance to the playoffs for the 16th time in the last 24 years.
“In time, it’s (progress) going to be there for them,” Raider Coach Art Shell said. “They’re close. There’s a lot of talent there and they’re doing a lot of good things. In time, it’s going to get done for them.”
The Chargers listed running back Marion Butts (foot) as doubtful. They listed wide receiver Nate Lewis (wrist), safety Lester Lyles (knee), tackle Joel Patten (neck) and wide receiver Walter Wilson (thigh) as questionable and defensive end Gerald Robinson (elbow) and linebacker Billy Ray Smith (elbow) as probable.
Butts didn’t practice, and Henning said he does not expect him to play. He said the club may place him on injured reserve later this week and might try to sign an additional defensive lineman.
Running back Ronnie Harmon, tackle Leo Goeas and cornerback Gill Byrd were not on the injury report, but did not practice. Henning said someone had stepped on Harmon’s toe, and he said Goeas will have arthroscopic surgery on his knee either this week or after Sunday’s game.
Henning attributed Byrd’s problem to an assortment of bumps and bruises and said he expects Byrd to be ready Sunday.
The Raiders announced linebacker Jerry Robinson (hand) and cornerback Lionel Washington (hamstring) as probable.