Chambers headed to Chargers in trade with Dolphins
"Oh man, it's a pleasure," Chambers said after he was traded from the winless Miami Dolphins to the defending AFC West champion San Diego Chargers just before Tuesday's deadline. "It's going to be very interesting. I can't wait to get out there and help this team win and continue to be successful."
Chambers is expected to join the Chargers at practice on Wednesday. The Chargers, 3-3 and tied for the division lead with Kansas City, have their bye this Sunday.
San Diego gave up a 2008 second-round draft pick for Chambers, who will give Rivers a veteran wide receiver to work with and help take the pressure off All-Pros Tomlinson and Gates.
Not long after Chargers general manager A.J. Smith made the deal with Miami, he put No. 1 wideout Eric Parker on the injured reserve list with a broken right big toe. Parker has been out since June, and will miss the rest of the season.
"It was a late development," Smith said. "One receiver down, one receiver in. We had an opportunity to add a quality, experienced, productive guy and felt we couldn't pass it up. We like him a lot. We've held him in high regard throughout his career."
Chambers has 31 receptions for 415 yards and no touchdowns this season. He was a second-round choice by Miami in 2001 -- the same year Tomlinson was the No. 5 overall pick by the Bolts. He enjoyed his best season in 2005, when he made 82 catches for 1,118 yards and 11 scores, and was voted to the Pro Bowl.
Reunited with Chargers coach Norv Turner, who was Miami's offensive coordinator in 2002-03, Chambers will bolster an otherwise young and undistinguished wide receiving corps. Signed through 2009, the durable Chambers has missed only two games in his career.
"He's a guy who's going to come in right away and he's going to be able to help us," Turner said.
The Chargers hope the acquisition of Chambers means an end to teams stacking eight men in the box against Tomlinson or double-teaming Gates, the tight end -- although Tomlinson made the Raiders pay on Sunday by rushing for 198 yards and scoring four touchdowns in a 28-14 win.
Tomlinson, frustrated earlier this season when the offense struggled during a stunning three-game losing streak, smiled when he spoke about Chambers.
"Very happy about it," the reigning NFL MVP said. "I think we all know what type of player Chris is. He's going to take the pressure off a lot of us on this offense. Obviously, the receiving group, meaning Gates, Vincent, he's going to take a lot of pressure off them guys, even Philip, having another target to throw to.
"As far as the running game, he's going to help us out in that, too. Teams are going to have to really now choose, if you want to want to play eight men in the box and leave them guys one-on-one. In the famous words of T.O., get your popcorn ready."
As if Chargers fans needed to be reminded, Chambers is the guy who had eight catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-21 Dolphins win at San Diego in December 2005 that helped ruin San Diego's chance of repeating as division champion.
"He's been a big-time receiver in this league for a while now," Rivers said.
Chambers said he was initially shocked when informed of the deal by first-year Dolphins coach Cam Cameron, San Diego's offensive coordinator the previous five years.
But he said he'd been prepared since training camp for a possible deal.
"This is a great opportunity for me," he said during a conference call from the Fort Lauderdale airport while waiting for his flight to San Diego. "All I've known is the Miami Dolphins for the last seven years. I'm ready to move on, a fresh start to my career. I feel like I have a lot to offer and haven't maxed my abilities yet."
This is the fourth straight year the Dolphins have had a horrible start. "You're basically sick and tired of it," Chambers said. "From that standpoint, you're coming to a great team with a lot of great players, guys who know how to win."
The Dolphins are looking to the future after matching the worst start in franchise history.
"Obviously, at 0-6 we're looking for answers," general manager Randy Mueller said. "We're looking to change some things. ... Draft picks are valuable to our team right now."
The deal will mean more playing time for rookie Ted Ginn Jr., a first-round pick who has only three receptions this season. Miami plays unbeaten New England on Sunday.
Chambers ranks fifth in Dolphins history with 405 receptions, good for 5,688 yards and 43 touchdowns. He has 15 100-yard receiving games, and had at least 48 catches in each of the last six seasons. In 2001, he led rookies with 883 yards, and his 48 receptions trailed only Tomlinson (59) among first-year players.
"Obviously he had been here for a long time and was very comfortable," Mueller said. I think he's going to a place that it will be a good fit for him. I know they're excited to get him."
Parker broke his toe during a June minicamp, and had surgery on it in early August.
AP Sports Writer Steven Wine in Miami contributed to this report.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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