The San Diego Chargers have begun discussions with representatives for left tackle Marcus McNeill in recent days, a league source said Friday.
McNeill has yet to sign his reduced restricted free-agent tender, but he'd like to remain a Charger and work out a long-term deal.
McNeill is optimistic that something can be worked out, though these talks have been preliminary. But the dialogue is scheduled to resume through the weekend, according to the source, and could result in a face-to-face session sometime in the next few weeks. Ample time remains before the start of the season to have something done, and the odds of working out a long-term deal with McNeill certainly seem higher than they are with the team's two other unsigned veterans, Shawne Merriman and Vincent Jackson.
Merriman said Thursday that he doesn't plan to report to training camp until he receives some kind of security from the team in the form of assurances that he won't be traded. Merriman said he wants to be the centerpiece of the team's defense.