Chargers entering final contract talks with LT McNeill

Marcus McNeill expressed his desire for a new contract by holding out from the San Diego Chargers. Now that he has reported to the team and been activated from the roster-exempt list, it appears a deal is near completion.

McNeill, a two-time Pro Bowl left tackle, and the Chargers are expected to go over final negotiating points Tuesday, *The San Diego Union-Tribune* reported, meaning an agreement likely is close.

Chargers director of public relations Bill Johnston suggested Tuesday that the two sides were close.

"Nearing 5-yr deal for Marcus McNeill," Johnston tweeted. "Team always said to 73 & 83: sign tender, go to work & we'll see how it goes. It went well for Mac."

Chargers general manager A.J. Smith disputed an ESPN report that an agreement had been reached Monday.

"That's not the case," Smith told The Union-Tribune. "If there is something to report, we'll let you know."

McNeill, a restricted free agent this offseason, rejected a one-year, $3.168 million tender offer from the Chargers, then skipped training camp, all four preseason games and the first two regular-season contests. The Chargers reduced their offer to $630,000, then placed the fifth-year pro on the roster-exempt list, meaning he was required to sit out three games after signing the tender.

McNeill signed the tender Sept. 25 and practiced with the team while he couldn't play. The Chargersadded him to their active roster Monday and released cornerback Fred Bennett and safety C.J. Spillman.

According to The Union-Tribune, McNeill will work with the first-team offense in practice starting Wednesday and likely will start in Sunday's game at St. Louis.

The Chargers still have one holdout player. Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson still hasn't signed his tender, and various reports have linked him to possible trades to the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots.

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