Chargers sign Rayner to handle kickoffs; waive Oben

SAN DIEGO -- Dave Rayner signed with the San Diego Chargers on Friday to handle kickoffs in place of the ailing Nate Kaeding for Sunday's game at Oakland.

Veteran left tackle Roman Oben was waived to clear a roster spot.

Kaeding injured his lower left leg helping to make a tackle on a kickoff in Monday night's win over Denver. He was limited in practice on Friday but is expected to handle extra-point and field-goal attempts for the AFC West champion Chargers, who are trying to wrap up the No. 3 playoff seed.

Coach Norv Turner said he considered using punter Mike Scifres as his kickoff specialist but didn't want to risk injury.

"I think he's the best punter in the league and the things he does for our team, you can't appreciate him enough," Turner said. "If we got in a situation with Mike kicking off and punting and something happened to him we'd be in a tough spot. It was a combination of things."

Rayner tried out along with three other kickers on Thursday. He was waived by Kansas City last month and previously played in Indianapolis and Green Bay. He could be with the Chargers for as little as a week if Kaeding's leg improves.

Turner hopes Oben will be back.

"He's a big part of what happened here for a long time and I'd like him to continue to be a part of that," Turner said. "If that works out it'd be great. He understands the circumstance. He's good in that matter but obviously he's disappointed."

Oben, 35, has been active for only four games this year, playing on special teams.

He started 16 games for San Diego in 2004 but suffered a foot injury after eight games in 2005 and missed the rest of the season. Oben had offseason foot surgery and didn't return to action until the second-to-last game of 2006.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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