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NFL AM: Chargers Finalize Citizens’ Initiative For Downtown Stadium

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San Diego Chargers Finalize Citizens’ Initiative for downtown stadium:

San Diego Chargers fans have to be as excited as they are frustrated.

The Chargers could have decided to join the Los Angeles Rams in LA in 2017, but they’ve decided to push for a new downtown stadium in San Diego, and Wednesday the team announced the finalization of the citizens’ initiative to move the team to downtown San Diego.

The Chargers hope if approved, the citizens’ initiative will help them build a joint use stadium-convention center in downtown San Diego.

“We are excited to report that our Citizens’ Initiative has been finalized,” said Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos. “We believe this is a great opportunity for the community to come together and create something special: an iconic, modern multi-purpose venue while also supporting and expanding our tourism and convention industries.”

The initiative is great, but it means nothing if they can’t get the required signatures in time to proceed to the next step of planning. Simply approving the measure won’t be enough to get this stadium built, but it’s a very strong first step in the right direction.

“We hope that the Citizens’ Initiative will be before the voters on November 8, 2016, the date of the Presidential Election,” said Fred Maas, Special Advisor to Spanos on the stadium initiative project.  “Our goal would be to collect considerably in excess of the required number of signatures to ensure that we will have in excess of what we need to qualify for the ballot.  San Diego election law requires the publication of the Citizens’ Initiative in the newspaper.  Once that occurs this week, then signature gathering can begin on the 21st day after that publication.”

For the citizens’ initiative to pass, the Chargers and supporters of the initiative will have to gather 66,447 signatures from registered San Diego voters by mid-June.

While there will always be a discussion about where a stadium should be, and if or how much tax payers should pitch in for a stadium for billionaire owners, hopefully San Diego and the Chargers can get together to keep the team in one of the nicest cities in America.

The Rams are already relocating from St. Louis to Los Angeles, and it doesn’t seem to be a lot of hope of the Raiders staying in Oakland. There’s nothing worse in sports than a city losing its franchise. Let’s hope San Diego doesn’t join the Rams, and likely the Raiders in having new homes in the coming years, and the Chargers can stay put.

Brandon LaFell signs with the Bengals:

Cincinnati Bengals fans can’t be thrilled with what’s going on at wide receiver this offseason. Out are Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, who headed to the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons respectively.

The Bengals, who will almost certainly be looking to add at least one receiver in the upcoming draft, have added some veteran depth to the position by signing former New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers receiver Brandon LaFell.

LaFell is the kind of signing that leaves fans wondering if that’s really the best they could have done. While the six-year pro had a career year in 2014 with 74 receptions, 953 yards and seven touchdowns, the majority of his career has been disappointing.

Outside of his career year, LaFell has never had more than 49 receptions, and it seems the more a team needs to rely on him, the smaller he comes up. Last season the Patriots had a myriadof injuries at receiver and tight end, and it seemed every one of Tom Brady’s favorite options missed time during the season. If ever there was an opportunity to take, this was the one.

Instead of taking advantage of having Brady tossing him the rock, or of the extra playing time he received because of the Mash unit around him, LaFell dropped more balls than all but five other NFL players, only managed to catch 37 passes, and failed to find end zone for the first time in his career.

While you could make the argument that LaFell only started seven games and only played in 11, but while he couldn’t manage to put up solid numbers in any other category, LaFell saw enough footballs to land him in the top 10 for drops.

The Bengals are in bad shape at receiver after A.J. Green, thanks to the losses of Sanu and Jones, but we’re not sure just how much help they’re going to get from LaFell a season after he met the biggest opportunity of his life with by falling flat on his face. Expect Cincinnati to look at least one receiver early in the upcoming draft.

Myles Jack says Chargers view him as a safety:

NFL evaluators love Myles Jack. He’s the kind of player every team could find a way to use, and it seems there are a couple of different opinions of where he’d fit best. He’s fast enough to play at weakside linebacker, and big enough to play on the inside.

While he likely won’t play on the offensive side of the ball (although you never know) as he did at UCLA, his ability to play the nickel corner in college shows he has the speed and athleticism to be a defensive back, and it sounds at least one NFL club sees him as just that.

Jack spoke to the San Diego Tribune, and explained that the Chargers view him as a safety who can move around and do a lot of things. A role similar to the one played by former Chargers safety Eric Weddle who signed with the Baltimore Ravens as a free agent.

The former offensive and defensive Pac-12 Freshman of the Year has to be high on the Chargers board, as he explained the team already has a plan for him if they were to draft him on April 29th.

“They really envision me as a DB,” Jack said in a phone interview. “Even at my pro day, toward the end, they kind of jumped in and had me do DB drills. They really envision me there. … They feel like I can fill that spot Eric Weddle was at. Obviously, they want me at a lower weight, but with my skill set, they can see me in the slot, covering and running.

“Like they were saying, the NFL is moving to mostly sub-packages. So I think that’s where the Chargers see me fitting in, a sub-package type of deal where I’m coming in and playing nickel and the safety-type role. They have plans for me. If they draft me, then I think that’s the role I’ll be playing in.”

Whichever city and whatever position Jack finds himself at, he has the kind of rare physical talent that should allow him to have a very solid career if he can stay healthy. He’s the kind of football player that screams star, and while there have been plenty of guys who have looked the part and could never cut it at the NFL level, Jack is a guy who’s easy to believe in. Whatever “it” is, Jack has it.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.