- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 9, 2003

If a contentious battle with city officials over a new stadium, rumors of a move to Los Angeles and a failure to reach postseason since 1995 weren’t depressing enough for San Diegans, they root for the NFL’s only 0-5 team.

The Chargers are 2-12 since last year’s glorious 6-1 start, and players are chafing at coach Marty Schottenheimer’s demands.

Receiver David Boston, San Diego’s prize offseason catch, was suspended for the Week4 game with Oakland after a heated altercation with strength coach Dave Redding.

Boston, who’s guaranteed $12million this year and next, and Redding, a longtime Schottenheimer confidant, had been at odds for months over disagreements about his workouts and use of a personal trainer. In July, Redding supposedly insinuated that the highly muscled Boston was on human growth hormones and questioned whether he was a bodybuilder or a football player.

“People see me and wonder, ‘Does he take steroids? Does he do this? Does he do that?’” said Boston, who claims to take 90 dietary supplements a day and spend $200,000 a year on nutrition and training. “There are things that I do lifting weights and through my diet that make me the way that I am. Sixty-five to 70 percent of everything is your diet.”

The bad blood between Boston and Redding finally boiled over when the receiver was fined Sept.23 for failing to meet his target weight of 235 pounds. He tossed the fine letter in the coach’s face and made a lewd comment about Redding and Schottenheimer.

Redding reportedly followed Boston toward the parking lot and told him not to return to the weight room. Chargers officials told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Boston also had been late for meetings, failed to attend at least one rehab session for a heel injury and got into a shouting match with receiver Reche Caldwell before the Week3 game with Denver, after which he did not report to the locker room because he had been inactive with the bad heel.

Boston’s absence against the Raiders was a killer for an offense minus tight end Stephen Alexander, right tackle Vaughn Parker, right guard Solomon Page and third receiver Tim Dwight. Boston returned with a monster game last Sunday in Jacksonville with 14 catches, 181 yards and two touchdowns, but San Diego still lost the battle of winless teams 27-21.

Halfback LaDainian Tomlinson carried 10 times for 38 yards, and kid cornerbacks Quentin Jammer and Sammy Davis and the rest of the NFL’s third-worst defense were victimized by a rookie passer for the second time in three weeks. The Jaguars’ Byron Leftwich, who had posted a 42.7 rating the previous week, had a 132.4 rating against the Chargers.

“You’ve got to look at yourself and take it personal,” fullback Lorenzo Neal said. “That’s the only thing you can do. You’re in a situation where you’ve used up all your hall passes, so now you’ve got to have pride, because no one is going to feel sorry for us.”

Schottenheimer, whose team thankfully has its bye this week, blames himself.

“We’re going to do everything necessary to get this thing turned around,” he said. “It starts with me. When I look in the mirror every night, I ask myself, ‘Have you done everything you need to do?’ On occasion, I have said, ‘No.’ I feel a responsibility to the fans, to the organization and to the players. I know what we need to do … but it’s frustrating when you know how to get it done and you’re not getting it [done].”

Marvin, Marvin — Maybe all the Indianapolis Colts’ Marvin Harrison needed to get back on track was getting wind of fellow receiver Keyshawn Johnson dissing him on the Tampa Bay sideline. Whatever the case, Harrison — tied for 12th in catches through Week4 — went crazy Monday night, toasting the Bucs for 11 catches, 176 yards and two touchdowns.

Harrison’s 665 catches in his first seven seasons are 55 more than anyone had made in their first eight. He needs two Sunday against Carolina to become the 15th member of the 700 club. With 11 more, Harrison will top Jerry Rice’s record ninth-year total of 708. His big night in Tampa put Harrison on pace for 106 catches this year. That would be his record fifth straight 100-catch season and move him into the top 10 all-time with nine receivers, all of whom played at least 14 seasons.

No surprise — We should have known that Seattle’s perfect season would end last Sunday in Green Bay. The Seahawks, who never have been 4-0, are 12-3 the week before byes — including the victory over St. Louis on Sept.21 that moved them to 3-0 — but 3-12 the week after byes.

The good news heading into Sunday’s game against NFC West rival San Francisco is that Seattle is 2-0 against division foes for the first time since 1988. That was just one of the two seasons when the Seahawks made the playoffs in the past 15 years.

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