Quarterback Bob Gagliano has been giving his buddy John Friesz wake-up calls every morning, but Saturday morning he gave Coach Bobby Ross one when he threw a long touchdown pass to Shawn Jefferson, who beat cornerback Cedric Mack.
"It was a nine route, and I just unleashed it," Gagliano said. "It was a little farther than the normal nine route. It felt good to let one go like that."
Gagliano went deep again in the afternoon when he hit Yancey Thigpen in stride on a pattern over the middle.
Free agent receiver Walter Stanley continues to impress the coaching staff with his versatility and his ability to catch passes in traffic.
"A lot of receivers don't like going over the middle, but it doesn't bother me," said Stanley, a seven-year pro out of Colorado.
Stanley has also been returning punts with the Chargers, a task he performed very well in 1989 with Detroit. Stanley led the NFL with a 13.8-yard average.
How old is Stanley? Good question. Stanley says he is 27, but the Charger public relations department lists him at 29. His birth date in the NFL Register is Nov. 5, 1962.
Stanley played two seasons at the University of Colorado before transferring to Mesa College of Colorado. His rookie year with the Green Bay Packers was 1985.
Regardless of how old he is, Stanley is confident he can make the Chargers, who would be his fifth team in eight years.
"The way I approach it is I've proven I can play," he said. "If you put the ball in my hands, good things will happen."
Running back Ronnie Harmon appears to be picking up where he left off last season. During the afternoon practice, Harmon, voted the team's MVP last season, put on a show that had the crowd and his teammates buzzing.
Pat O'Hara's pass was thrown behind him, but Harmon caught it with one hand, juked one defender and reverse pivoted around two others who were left grasping at air.
With strong safety Delton Hall getting a rest, rookie James Fuller practiced with the first unit. Fuller, an eighth-round pick from Portland State, said he is growing more confident by the day.
"Being an eighth-round pick, I didn't think my chances of making it were very good," he said. "I feel like my chances are improving. I'm still slipping up now and then, but the veterans have been real good to me."
Running back Keith McAfee, an 11th-round pick out of Texas A&M;, became the first draft choice to be waived. The team also released free agent kicker Rich Andrews and free agent guards Donald Walkinshaw and Mitch Kaaialii.
Leigh Steinberg, Friesz's agent, said there is no change in Friesz' situation. Steinberg said he has not spoken with General Manager Bobby Beathard recently and has no talks scheduled.
"The position's been pretty clear," Steinberg said. "It's a respectful disagreement right now."
Beathard said the number of holdouts will be down to three shortly. He expects linebacker Gary Plummer to be signed and in camp today, and he said there was progress with guard David Richards.
Richards agreed and said he should be in camp Monday.
"We're just ironing things out," he said. "I could have been in earlier, we just got started too damn late."
Richards said Beathard has put a two-year deal on the table.
In addition to Friesz, running back Rod Bernstine and tackle Joe Phillips are unsigned. Beathard reported no progress with Bernstine or Phillips.
Veteran kicker John Carney ended his holdout, reported to afternoon practice and drilled four field goals from 28 to 38 yards through the uprights.
The Chargers will have the morning off, but will practice this afternoon at 3:40. They will practice twice Monday before beginning one-a-days on Tuesday.