Wilhelm's time was up in San Diego

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Once the San Diego Chargers signed inside linebacker Kevin Burnett this offseason, Matt Wilhelm's days with the team appeared numbered.

Wilhelm's time in San Diego expired Friday.

The Chargers released him, days before training camp. Wilhelm was a part-time starter last season after starting 14 games in 2007. He had 68 tackles last season. Wilhelm had 247 tackles in six seasons in San Diego. He became a whipping boy of sorts for fans in San Diego last season as the Chargers suffered on defense.

The timing of the release means he can get a jump on catching on elsewhere before training camp starts.

Burnett, who is very good in pass coverage, and veteran Tim Dobbins will compete for a starting job. Both are expected to play in Ron Rivera's defensive system.