- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 13, 2010

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Chargers left tackle Marcus McNeill has the long-term deal he sought all along.

McNeill agreed Wednesday to a five-year contract extension through 2015. It’s believed to be worth $48.5 million, with $24.5 million guaranteed.

It took a holdout, a team-imposed suspension and having his pay slashed for this season to get to this point, but McNeill said it was worth it.

“I think we handled it the best way it could have been,” McNeill said after practice, and a few hours before the deal was announced. “Of course, you have other decisions that you could have made, but now that I’m getting my deal and everything is going the right way, I feel like everything was pretty productive. I would have rather been out there the first five games but sometimes the business side of it takes its course and that’s what happened this time.”

Because this is an uncapped season, McNeill was a restricted free agent even though his original four-year contract expired after last season. When he didn’t sign his $3,168,000, one-year tender by June 15, the Chargers reduced the tender to 110 percent of his 2009 salary, or $630,000. McNeill sat out training camp and the first two games before signing the tender.

When he did sign the tender, he had to sit out three games because he’d been placed on the roster exempt list in a hardball tactic by general manager A.J. Smith.

Because he missed five games, the prorated tender amount would be $444,705.

McNeill’s agent, Alvin Keels, said McNeill would get a “slight bump” in pay for this season, but didn’t give a specific number.

Second-year pro Brandyn Dombrowski replaced McNeill, having some good games and some bad ones in protecting quarterback Philip Rivers’ blind side.

McNeill is expected to play Sunday, but he might not start.

“I’m not completely back in the starting unit yet,” McNeill said. “I have a long way to go. I want to make sure my footwork and all my technique is completely salvageable before I step out on the field. There would be nothing worse than me to get out there unprepared and unready and trying to be protecting Philip’s blind side. You can’t have that, so me and Dombrowski definitely are going to go back and forth on everything to make sure everything is right before I get a chance to step back into that starting position.”

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