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CHARGER UPDATE : NOTEBOOK : Smith to Go on Injured Reserve; Chargers Set to Activate Fields

Chargers Coach Dan Henning said the team will place linebacker Billy Ray Smith on injured reserve and activate rookie safety Floyd Fields.

Smith tried to run Wednesday, but was unable because of a swollen calf.

“I had a similar injury in 1984 or 1985 and I couldn’t run for a month,” Smith said.

Smith was bothered by several injuries this season, but produced two interceptions, forced two fumbles, recovered a fumble and knocked down three passes.

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Fields, a fifth-round pick from Arizona State, started the first two exhibition games, but then was placed on injured reserve on Aug. 27 with a shin injury.

Say goodby to Darren Carrington.

It’s become a Chargers tradition: Earn recognition as special teams player of the year here, as Carrington did for 1991 Wednesday, and it’s time to start packing your bags.

Vince Osby earned the honor in 1984 and left in 1985. Derrie Nelson was picked in 1985 and was gone in 1986. Ty Allert won in 1986 and left in 1987; Daniel Hunter won in 1987 and didn’t play for the team again; Randy Kirk won in 1988 and didn’t return in 1989; Ken Woodard was selected in 1989 and didn’t play for the Chargers in 1990.

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Kicker John Carney was the team’s special teams player of the year in 1990, and while he remains with the team, his position remains tenuous after a 19-for-29 field-goal performance.

The Broncos, 11-4, will earn a bye in the playoffs and play host to a second-round game if Houston loses to the Giants in New York Saturday and Denver defeats San Diego.

Houston, 11-4, defeated Denver 42-14 earlier this season, so if the Oilers beat the Giants they will clinch home-field advantage in round two of the playoffs and render Sunday’s game with the Chargers meaningless.

Denver Coach Dan Reeves said he will rest several injured players if Sunday’s game has no impact on the Broncos’ playoff situation.

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The Broncos came to San Diego for the final game in 1987 after already clinching a playoff berth and chose to rest quarterback John Elway for much of the game. The Chargers defeated Denver, 19-16, and the Broncos went on to lose to San Francisco in Super Bowl XXIV.

If Houston wins Saturday or the Broncos lose Sunday, Denver will play host to the winner of Sunday’s Miami-New York Jets’ game in Mile High Stadium to open the playoffs.


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