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‘Company business’ prevents Melvin Ingram from practicing with Chargers

Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram watches from the sideline.
Three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Melvin Ingram appears to be in a contract dispute with the Chargers as he sits out practice again.
(Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)

Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram was again present at practice but did not participate for reasons related to his contract.

On Friday, coach Anthony Lynn said it was “company business” that was keeping Ingram from working out with his teammates. Lynn refused to elaborate then and did so again Monday.

“I’m just gonna leave it at that because I don’t have to talk about it right now, you know what I mean?” he said. “Gotta lot of other things I gotta get done, and I don’t really want to spend a lot of time talking about that.”

Lynn explained that Ingram has been involved in meetings and walk-throughs. Uchenna Nwosu replaced Ingram on the first-team defense Monday.

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Adrian Garcia-Marquez and Francisco Pinto will be covering Chargers games this season on Que Buena 105.5/94.3 FM.

Ingram, 31 and in his ninth year, remains on the active roster, meaning he is healthy.

The issue is he is entering the final season of a four-year, $64-million deal and this month saw the Chargers sign their other starting defensive end, Joey Bosa, to a record extension.

By not reporting to camp and holding out in the traditional sense, Ingram would be subject to a daily fine of $50,000. Under the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, those penalties can not be waived as had been the case previously.

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That rule change was thought to make it unlikely that veterans would attempt to hold out in the future.

This is the second consecutive summer the Chargers have been confronted with a player unsatisfied with his current deal.

Running back Melvin Gordon missed training camp and the preseason in 2019 and didn’t report until late September while seeking a new contract. That deal never happened, and Gordon departed for Denver as a free agent in March.

On the day the Chargers reported for coronavirus testing, Bosa agreed to a five-year, $135-million contract, making him the league’s highest-paid defensive player ever.

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Nearly two years ago, Tyrod Taylor lost his starting quarterback job following a disastrous game. He’s ready to prove himself again with the Chargers.

Along with Ingram, the team’s other potential unrestricted free agents after this season include wide receiver Keenan Allen, tight end Hunter Henry, center Mike Pouncey and defensive back Desmond King.

Asked Monday if he’d like a new deal before the season began, Allen didn’t hesitate.

“That would be nice,” he said, “but I ain’t tripping.”

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Playoff payoff

Allen has four career 1,000-yard seasons and three consecutive Pro Bowl selections.

His all-time NFL receptions, if laid end-to-end, would stretch more than 3 1/2 miles.

What Allen doesn’t have is a fat playoff resume.

“It’s really about winning, just getting over that hump and winning,” Chargers cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. “When you’re winning, you get more hype, you get more pub, you get more respect.”

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Harris called Allen “highly underrated,” while specifically praising his route-running, which is considered to be next level.

Entering his eighth season, Allen regularly is overlooked in various rankings and listings, despite his successful and consistent past. He has topped 1,000 yards in three straight seasons.

But Allen has appeared in only four playoff games, during which he has 14 catches for 275 yards and three touchdowns.

This offseason, Allen took exception particularly to being ranked No. 77 on the NFL Network’s list of top 100 players. He had been 38th and 41st the past two years. Allen took to Twitter to voice his displeasure last month.

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“I’m about ready to just close down social media altogether,” he said Monday.


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