Report: Marcus McNeill meets with GM

SAN DIEGO -- Holdout left tackle Marcus McNeill met Wednesday with San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, although it wasn't immediately clear if the session was productive.

The Chargers have threatened to place McNeill on the roster exempt list if he doesn't sign his contract tender by Friday. By being placed on the roster exempt list, he would face a three-game suspension once he's signed.

A person familiar with the situation confirmed the meeting to The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.

Smith, McNeill and agent Alvin Keels didn't immediately return calls and e-mails seeking comment.

McNeill, who protects quarterback Philip Rivers' blind side, and Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson, unhappy at not getting long-term deals, are believed to be willing to sit out the season's first 10 games, returning for the final six games in order to accrue a season.

Keels confirmed last week that the Chargers have threatened to place McNeill on the roster exempt list. Jackson's agent, Neil Schwartz, didn't return a call or e-mail, but it would seem to follow suit that the Chargers would also threaten his client with the same treatment.

Jackson already has been suspended by the NFL for the first three games for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Being placed on the roster exempt list would force them to move up their return, if they intend to play at all this year.

As restricted free agents, Jackson was tendered at $3,268,000 and McNeill at $3,168,000. Because they didn't sign by June 15, they have each forfeited approximately $2.5 million.

Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman ended his holdout Friday.


Merriman sat out Wednesday's practice with a sore Achilles' tendon, saying the injury wasn't serious and he could return to practice this week or early next week. It's doubtful he'll play in Saturday night's exhibition game against the visiting Dallas Cowboys. ... Among others not working were LB Brandon Siler (ankle), OL Tyronne Green (ankle) and CB Donald Strickland (hamstring). ... LT Tra Thomas, who is returning from a recent arthroscopic knee surgery, continues to impress. He participated in his second day of team drills. With the Chargers desperate at left tackle, coach Norv Turner is upbeat that Thomas, a 13-year pro, will be able to bounce back quickly. "It's clear he still has plenty of ability and he is an excellent pass-protector," Turner said. ... The NFL granted the Chargers a 24-hour extension in an effort to sell enough tickets to lift the local TV blackout of Saturday's game. The team has until 6 p.m. Thursday to sell the remaining 1,000 tickets.