SAN DIEGO (AP) Chargers wide receiver Travis Benjamin was reprimanded during Monday's practice – that's a positive.
''I kind of had a couple tempo violations where I was going faster than the other guys and they told me to slow down,'' Benjamin said. ''I was just feeling happy, and knowing that I could pick it up and run faster.''
Benjamin was eager to display his speed in the team's first workout after its bye. In a light session on a damp field, Benjamin was raring to show that his ailing knee is fine.
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''It felt good to be back out there,'' said Benjamin, who has missed two games. ''We'll see how it goes this week.''
Benjamin was among the Chargers returning to practice after being injured leading up last week's bye. Also working and looking as if they'll play on Sunday at Houston were strong safety Jahleel Addae (clavicle) and inside linebacker Denzel Perryman (hamstring).
''It's great to get Denzel back on the field,'' coach Mike McCoy said. ''We all know what type of player he is, with his knowledge of the system and the play-making ability that he has. So anytime you can get any player back it is always a bonus for our team.''
Especially if Perryman, the team's top run-stopper, can stay fit for the next six games. In four of those contests, the opposition averages at least 4 yards per carry. Perryman hasn't played since Oct. 30.
Addae, another physical player, could deliver some brawn to a run defense which is ranked in the top 10. Although it's a unit which will no longer feature nose tackle Brandon Mebane, who suffered a season-ending biceps injury in the loss to Miami on Nov. 13.
''The way (Addae) plays the game, his passion, it doesn't matter if it's during practice today or Sunday at kickoff,'' McCoy said. ''You love everything about him. It was great to see him out there at practice today.''
Dwight Lowery, the Chargers' free safety signed in the offseason, agreed.
''He has the most experience out of everybody in the room,'' Lowery said. ''So to bring his energy, passion, physicality, passion and also his knowledge of the defense is going to help us tremendously I believe. It will be a lift to have him out there.''
Two key players didn't return. Cornerback Brandon Flowers (concussion) and inside linebacker Jatavis Brown (knee) were unable to go.
It appears the last-place Chargers (4-6) won't be going to the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons. But quarterback Philip Rivers gathered his teammates after practice and stressed for them to keep fighting.
''Phil told us that everyone wishes we could go back in time and change one little thing we did in the losses that we had,'' rookie defensive end Joey Bosa said. ''But obviously we can't do that. Looking forward we have six games left and that is really all we can handle. That is what we are focused on. Our goal is to go 6-0.''
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