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News flash: Rivers with Chargers in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO — Quarterback Philip Rivers was back on the field and that explained his smile as the San Diego Chargers opened training camp Thursday.

After an offseason of chatter about Rivers moving to Tennessee and the Chargers possibly moving to Los Angeles, Thursday’s workout was a welcomed respite.

“I feel like I got a lot of good years left,” the 12-year-pro said.

Rivers isn’t quite sure where he’ll be for those years. The team and Rivers are talking about a contract extension, but it doesn’t sound as if anything is imminent.

“We’re having dialogue,” Rivers said. “If it happens, I would be super excited. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll be super excited about the team right now.”

As for the Chargers, politicians from the city, county and state level met with NFL executives on Tuesday regarding the city’s quest to build the team a new stadium. The Chargers aren’t currently negotiating with the city.

–Tight end Antonio Gates was at practice and explaining his upcoming absence of four games. Gates, the team’s leading receiver last year in receptions and touchdowns, was suspended for testing positive for a performance enhancing drug.

“I’m not really sure how it got in my system,” Gates said. “I was shocked.”

Gates said he took a substance without checking the league’s approved list and is paying the price.

Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said he approached tight end Ladarius Green about a larger role in the offseason. That was before Gates was suspended for the first four games. Green, in his third year, had 19 receptions last year.

–Rookie running back Melvin Gordon looked impressive in the first day, although he admitted he “was rusty.”

The Chargers traded up to draft Gordon out of Wisconsin and have been pleased with his potential. Gordon recognized some pass-blocking duties, which is always a plus for a rookie running back.

–Cornerback Brandon Flowers was wearing bright cleats with neon colors.

“These are my signature,” he said.

Flowers explained that cornerback Jason Verrett and strong safety Jahleel Addae wear dregs and free safety Eric Weddle has a healthy beard. Those four players form what the team hopes is a solid core in the backfield. Flowers was kept off the free-agent market by the Chargers and Verrett, the team’s first-round pick last year, is healthy again after last season’s shoulder injury.

“He’s got the physical part,” Flowers said of Verrett. “Now he just has to learn the mental part.”


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