Dielman willing to risk health in pursuit of ring

San Diego Chargers left guard Kris Dielman, who missed the final

10 games of the season with a concussion, said Monday that he’s

willing to risk his health in pursuit of winning a Super Bowl

ring.

”Yeah, I think so,” Dielman said Monday in his first comments

about his injury, which caused the NFL to announce it would give

game officials ”concussion awareness training” so they could keep

an eye out for players.

”I’ve got some other people who probably wouldn’t agree,” said

Dielman, who added that ultimately it will be his decision whether

he returns or retires.

Dielman, a four-time Pro Bowler who’s the father of two young

boys, said the lure of winning a championship is strong.

”I would love a ring. That’s what I’ve been playing for since I

got in,” said Dielman, who joined the Chargers as an undrafted

rookie in 2003. ”’That was my goal, my first year, was to make the

team, then to make the practice squad, then to get on the 53 (man

roster). The Super Bowl ultimately was the end one. And that’s what

everybody’s fighting for.”

Dielman’s comments came a day after the Chargers’ season ended.

Because he hadn’t been cleared to play due to the concussion, he

had been off-limits to reporters.

The 320-pound Dielman was staggered by the injury early in the

fourth quarter against the Jets on Oct. 23, but continued to play

because the Chargers were out of offensive linemen due to other

injuries. The team didn’t diagnose his condition until after the

game. Dielman suffered a grand mal seizure on the flight home. An

ambulance met the team plane and Dielman was hospitalized

overnight.

”This was definitely a scare,” said Dielman, known for his

hard-nosed, blue-collar demeanor. ”Waking up in the hospital with

my wife standing over me, that was pretty scary. I don’t scare

easy, but that was something different.”

He eventually was placed on season-ending injured reserve.

”Actually, I wanted to be put on. It was a mutual decision

between both of us,” Dielman said, referring to coach Norv Turner.

”Me and Norv talked extensively about it and we made the right

decision.”

Dielman said he wanted to go on IR because of how he felt.

”There’s a lot of unknown,” he said.

Other than having a cold, he said he feels fine now.

Ten days after Dielman was hurt, the league’s injury and safety

panel told game officials to watch closely for concussion symptoms

in players. Officials were told that if they believed a player had

sustained a concussion, they were to take appropriate steps to

alert the team and get medical attention for the player.

Asked if he’d be more cognizant about a possible concussion and

would pull himself out of a game, Dielman said: ”Apparently, I

won’t do that. That’s the scary part, too. I’ll play through just

about anything and I’ve played through this one and it got me. I’ve

made my whole career doing dumb (stuff) like that.”

Dielman said he doesn’t remember the hit that hurt him.

”It looks like I’m drunk,” he said. ”Deal with it. That’s how

I got here, doing stupid (stuff) on the football field. It got me

10 years in, so I’m all right with that.”

As an unrestricted free agent after the 2006 season, Dielman

left about $10 million on the table in Seattle and accepted a

six-year deal worth $39 million to remain with the Chargers.

Dielman said he’ll speak with his family and doctors before

deciding on his future.

”If I didn’t have kids and a family, the decision would be much

easier. I probably would have been playing again this year,” he

said.

”It’s not just me. I have two little boys and a wife. I have to

make sure everything’s all right with me and I have to see some

doctors still and make a decision from there. Whenever I choose,

I’m not going to do anything to hurt the organization. It’s only a

day after the season’s over. I’m not making any decisions

yet.”

Dielman said it was difficult to watch the Chargers miss the

playoffs for the second straight season.

He reiterated what could bring him back.

”No ring. I’ve only got a wedding ring,” he said. ”I’ve done

the Pro Bowls, I’ve done the contract. I want a Super Bowl. I’m no

different than anybody else in San Diego that’s (complaining) and

moaning about not being in the Super Bowl. Trust me; we want to be

in the Super Bowl, too. It’s not an easy league.”