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CHARGERS UPDATE : NOTEBOOK : Henning Recognized for Being a Straight Shooter With Media

Charger Coach Dan Henning was given the Diogenes Award at a gathering Wednesday of the local chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. The award is named for the ancient Greek philosopher who searched for an honest man and is given to someone in the public eye who deals with the media in a forthright manner.

In a his acceptance talk, Henning spoke of his sometimes-ornery relationship with the press. “If Diogenes was looking for an honest man he might’ve given me a glance,” Henning said. “If he was looking for a patient man he might’ve given me a glance. If he was looking for a man who never loses his temper or gets upset, I’m afraid he’d have to pass me by.

“My staff and I have to live with ridicule, sarcasm, innuendo and having their private lives in a fishbowl. It’s not always pleasant and I have to educate the press to our side.

“What you read and what actually happened in the game are not always one and the same. I have to tell (the press) what happened as firmly and honestly as possible . . . without giving us a competitive disadvantage.”

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Referring to the recent Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings, Henning said, “People want to hear dirt. . . . It was like a soap opera. (The media) will find something negative if you let them. Our job is to continue educating and find the positive.”

At the last minute, the PRSA had to have a new award made up for Henning because the one they had was stolen Sunday.

Henning said philosophically, “If Diogenes started out 2,000 years ago looking for a man with the qualities listed on that award, I suspect he’s still searching.”

Mark Walczak, who was signed as a backup long snapper last week, was released Wednesday, when the Chargers claimed linebacker and long snapper Randy Kirk off waivers from the Cleveland Browns. Kirk, a San Diego State alumnus, played 29 games for the Chargers in 1987-88. He had played three games for Cleveland this season before being placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

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In another roster move, tight end Charles Arbuckle, also signed a week ago, was released from the practice squad to make room for running back Rod Bernstine, who returned to practice Wednesday and is expected to be activated for Sunday. . . . Linebacker Billy Ray Smith was named AFC defensive player of the week. . . . Henning said he doesn’t think Kitrick Taylor (knee) and Craig McEwen (ankle) will be able to play Sunday, though Taylor is listed as probable.


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