Join Date: May 2004
Location: Deer Park, TX
Chargers With Yet Another Disgruntled Player
Looks like the San Diego management is trying to defend its Worst Current Franchise title by scorning yet another player in the midst of contract negotiations. There were earlier reports that the Phillip Rivers negotiations stalled yet again, and then this article by San Diego Union-Tribune about their center Jason Ball. His agent is quoted as saying "He'd rather go someplace else and play for the minimum than sign a long-term deal with San Diego." Then again, who can blame him?
Chargers' Ball stiff-arms the front office
Angry center passes on long-term contract
By Jim Trotter
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
August 23, 2004
CARSON – The relationship between the Chargers and unsigned center Jason Ball has deteriorated to the point that Ball no longer is interested in a multiyear deal with the club.
"It's about principle," Ball's agent, Peter Schaffer, said yesterday. "He does not feel respected by the organization, which is why he wanted to be traded. He would rather go someplace else and play for the minimum than sign a long-term deal with San Diego."
Ball's dissatisfaction stems from three things: the team's refusal to sign him to a multiyear deal in February, after his original two-year contract expired; its selection of another center, Nick Hardwick, two months later in the NFL draft; and its decision to put Ball on the roster-exempt list once he does report.
Ball was put on that list last week, when the team informed him that he would be greeted with what ostensibly amounts to a three-week suspension without pay when he rejoins the club. During that time, he cannot participate in games or receive a salary.
Schaffer said Saturday he believes Ball will report this season, although he was uncertain when that might happen.
Ball started 21 of 32 games over the past two seasons after being signed as an undrafted rookie in 2002. He received a $15,000 signing bonus and minimum salaries, which totaled $540,000. That's less than what Hardwick received in a signing bonus alone.
It wasn't long after Hardwick was selected that Ball told Schaffer he no longer was interested in a long-term deal with the Chargers.
Schaffer said Ball likely would return because he feels he owes it to his teammates, some of whom voted him the club's Lineman of the Year two seasons ago. Another factor could be that Ball needs another accrued season to be eligible to become a restricted free agent.
He couldn't talk with other clubs this year because the Chargers owned his exclusive negotiating rights after tendering him for one year at $380,000, the minimum for a third-year pro. As a restricted free agent, Ball would be allowed to talk with other clubs, although the Chargers could retain the right of first refusal by making him a predetermined qualifying offer on a one-year contract.