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Jared Gaither a question mark for San Diego Chargers

When the San Diego Chargers re-signed left tackle Jared Gaither to a mid-level free agent deal this offseason, the signing got one of two reactions.

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  1. The Chargers got a potential premier left tackle at a bargain price.
  1. The Chargers were giving way too much money to an injury-prone player, plagued by work ethic questions and a player that put his best foot forward in a contract push in 2012.

It's early, but door No. 2 is looking more accurate. Gaither hasn't practiced since the first day of training camp because of a back injury. Two weeks ago, he was seen working out at the side of Chargers practice. Then he disappeared, took an MRI, and we haven't heard much since.

Undrafted rookie Michael Harris will start the regular season opener against Oakland against a fearsome pass rush. Gaither bristled at questions about his recovery Monday, repeatedly saying he was a "professional athlete" and failing to say much else.

"I'm a professional athlete. These things happen. This isn't like something that's not out of the ordinary. People get hurt, and they work to get back," Gaither told the U-T San Diego.

He said he won't return to work until he's 100 percent. He also didn't like questions about whether he's taking things from the film room that will help him when he returns.

"I'm a professional athlete," Gaither said. "I think I do well in the film room, and I study and do all those things. That's not really a question."

Gaither's status is one of the biggest questions facing the Chargers offense this season. So far, he's provided no answers.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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