Former Pro Bowler Newberry provides insurance for injured Hardwick

SAN DIEGO -- Former Pro Bowl center Jeremy Newberry signed a one-year contract with the San Diego Chargers on Monday, most likely as insurance in case Nick Hardwick isn't ready for the start of the season.

Hardwick had surgery on his sprained right foot on March 14. The team said at the time that he would need four to six months to recover.

Hardwick was hurt early in a game against the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 14 and missed the next four games. He played in the final six regular-season games and three playoff games.

He's played mostly at center, but also at guard and tackle.

Newberry started 14 games for the rival Oakland Raiders last year. He was taken by San Francisco in the second round of the 1998 draft and went to the Pro Bowl after the 2001 and 2002 seasons.

"Jeremy is a tough, physical, experienced player," Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said. "He brings additional veteran leadership to the Chargers. He has always been a top-level competitor and we are pleased that he will be a part of our team."

A veteran of 10 NFL seasons, Newberry (6-5, 315) has played in 104 career games and has started every game in which he's appeared. While his most significant action has been at center, Newberry has also started at guard and tackle during his career.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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