There was once a time when Bob Sanders was known as one of the most gifted defensive players in football. But over the years, Sanders grew to earn a far less glamorous designation -- the NFL's version of "Mr. Glass".
Wednesday's news won't do anything to help Sanders shed that reputation. The Chargers announced they've placed the veteran safety on injured reserve with a knee injury, cutting another season short for the injury-plagued 2007 Defensive Player of the Year.
"All we wished for Bob was good health and hoped to turn him loose to do his thing, which was being one great, physical, highly-competitive player," Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said in a statement released by the team. "It didn't work out for him or us, and we wish him the very best. He was with us a very short time, but made a positive impact with our team in many ways, and I'll always appreciate that."
Smith's compliments probably won't ease the frustration of Sanders, who has now missed 10 or more games in six of his eight seasons.
What remains to be seen is if this latest setback will serve as a final blow to the career of the former Colt. At just 30 years old, Sanders might still have the drive to compete, but it's fair to wonder if there's an NFL team that will bite on a player who clearly doesn't have a body that cooperates.
The Chargers replaced Sanders on the roster with defensive lineman Tommie Harris, who signed a one-year deal with the team on Wednesday. A two-time All-Pro who spent all seven of his previous NFL seasons with the Bears, the 28-year-old Harris gives the team some added depth along its defensive line.