Chargers place LT Gaither on IR

The San Diego Chargers placed left tackle Jared Gaither on

injured reserve Friday, ending an unproductive season for a player

expected to shore up a shaky offensive line.

”We’ve given Jared Gaither every opportunity to be a part of

this team and it just hasn’t worked out,” said coach Norv Turner,

who clearly was disappointed at the way the lineman’s season has

gone.

”Obviously, physically he hasn’t been able to be part of

it.”

Asked if he was happy with the work ethic of the 6-foot-9,

335-pound Gaither, the coach said: ”It is what it is. There’s not

really a lot left to be said about it.”

Gaither played in only four games this season. He missed almost

all of training camp and the first three games with a back injury.

He injured his groin late in a loss at New Orleans and played in

only two games since.

In the closing seconds of the Saints game, with the Chargers

desperately trying for the tying touchdown, Martez Wilson blew past

the hobbled Gaither on Philip Rivers’ blind side for a strip-sack

and recovered the fumble to preserve the Saints’ 31-24 victory.

Gaither was signed off waivers after Marcus McNeill was hurt

late last year, and played well in the final five games. The

Chargers gave Gaither a four-year, $24.5 million contract in

March.

Rivers has been under siege most of the season because of the

line’s poor play. Adding to San Diego’s woes was the retirement of

left guard Kris Dielman due to a concussion.

Rivers has thrown 14 interceptions and lost four fumbles this

season, giving him 43 turnovers since the start of the 2011

season.

Undrafted rookie Mike Harris has filled in for Gaither, and will

have to face Terrell Suggs of the AFC North-leading Baltimore

Ravens on Sunday.

”I don’t know what we would have done without him,” Turner

said about Harris. ”He’s a guy who’s improved and working as hard

as he can. He’s been in some tough matchups and he’s managed to the

best of his ability.”

Asked if he’d like to see Gaither back next year, Turner said:

”You know, we’re going to start getting those questions about a

lot of things. I’m interested in doing what we can to give this

team the best chance to win the Baltimore game. Obviously, after

that we move on to the next opponent.”

Turner is expected to be fired if the Chargers miss the playoffs

for the third straight season. At 4-6, the Chargers have all but

ceded the AFC West title to the Denver Broncos and are a longshot

to secure a wild-card berth.

The Chargers are expected to sign tackle Kevin Haslam from the

practice squad to the active roster.

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