The release of defensive tackle Jamal Williams after 12 seasons with the team headlines the list of offseason moves the Chargers made Thursday.
Williams’ release isn’t totally shocking. He was due a roster bonus Friday and is coming off a triceps surgery that kept him out of all but one game last season. Williams will be 34 next month and has been wearing down in recent seasons.
Williams’ situation is not unlike the recent release of running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Williams was a fan favorite and had a great career in San Diego, but he could no longer be counted on. Williams, 6-foot-3, 348 pounds, was a superstar in his prime. He anchored the San Diego defense and clogged the interior of the defensive line.
San Diego, though, will have to act quickly to replace Williams. San Diego missed Williams’ run-stuffing ability all season. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Chargers look at nose tackle with the No. 28 overall pick in the draft. Alabama’s Terrence Cody could be targeted as a replacement for Williams.
San Diego announced free agent special teams ace Kassim Osgood “definitely” will not be returning. Osgood wants a chance to play receiver and he should get that chance in free agency. San Diego was never interested in letting Osgood play on offense.
It also released backup running back Michael Bennett. Even though San Diego put the high tender on change-of-pace back Darren Sproles, still expect it to try to pick up at least two running backs this offseason.
San Diego agreed to a two-year deal with defensive tackle Antonio Garay. He was scheduled to be a restricted free agent.
The Chargers also announced that several players have had or will soon have surgeries to address 2009 health issues. They said every player will be ready for training camp in late July. Here is the team’s list of players who needed surgery:
Surgery update Injury Rehab Time (from date of surgery)
LB Kevin Burnett Neck 3-5 months
DE Luis Castillo Shoulder complete
DE Jacques Cesaire Elbow, Knee complete
C Nick Hardwick Shoulder complete
DE Vaughn Martin Ankle 12 weeks
G Scott Mruczkowski Elbow 2-4 weeks
WR Legedu Naanee Foot 12 weeks
P Mike Scifres Bilateral hernia 6-12 weeks
S C.J. Spillman Shoulder 3-4 months
G Louis Vasquez Knee 6-8 weeks