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Burnett among Chargers' vets in roster trouble

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Recent posts by Michael Blunda

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Posted July 29, 2010 @ 2:04 p.m. ET
By Michael Blunda

The Chargers will have a few clear-cut objectives during their 2010 training camp. Obviously, they'll be looking to replace two key offensive players in WR Vincent Jackson and OLT Marcus McNeill, both likely to hold out into the regular season. They'll be paying close tabs to see how the defense fares after losing NT Jamal Williams and CB Antonio Cromartie. And they'll be monitoring the progress of rookies RB Ryan Mathews and SS Darrell Stuckey, both of who are slated to start.

But the Bolts also will be looking to trim players who aren't up to snuff as they attempt to select the best 53 men for their Week One roster. The way we hear it, a few established veterans could be on the chopping block with a subpar camp.

DE Alfonso Boone joined San Diego in 2009 and had a fairly productive season in limited action, but the 10th-year vet looks to be squarely on the roster bubble for the upcoming campaign. With the team already having a versatile lineman it likes in Travis Johnson, an up-and coming lineman in Vaughn Martin and the returning Ryon Bingham, who missed all of last season with injury, its depth on the line is solid. At age 34, Boone could be the odd man out.

At outside linebacker, Jyles Tucker was a major disappointment last season and might no longer be needed. Formerly thought of as a potential replacement for Shawne Merriman, Tucker was surpassed last year when the Chargers drafted Larry English, and he proceeded to have just four tackles in seven games. Only 26, he can't afford to turn in a poor August.

Maybe the most surprising player we hear is in danger of being let go is ILB Kevin Burnett. Signing with the Bolts as a free agent prior to last season, Burnett became disgruntled late in '09 as his playing time began to decrease, not ending the season on the best of terms with the club. He then underwent neck surgery in the offseason and was unable to participate in any team activities. If San Diego gets productive outings from '10 third-rounder Donald Butler and its other young inside 'backers during exhibition action, it could be enough to push the former Cowboy onto the wrong side of the bubble, especially if his neck doesn't prove to be fully healthy.

 

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