SAN DIEGO -- After accurately snapping the ball to San Diego Chargers kickers and punters since 1994, time finally ran out on seemingly ageless David Binn.
The Chargers decided Tuesday to release the 39-year-old Binn, the only player left from their 1994 Super Bowl team and Bobby Beathard's tenure as general manager.
Coach Norv Turner said Binn's release was due to a combination of Mike Windt having an outstanding camp and questions about Binn's durability.
Still, it was a shock for kicker Nate Kaeding and punter Mike Scifres to hear that the low-key Binn was finished with the Bolts.
"It hurts on a personal level more than anything," Kaeding said. "Obviously not being able to have him and the quality of his snaps around is going to be tough, but not having your friend around, too, is a hard thing. Mike and I have created pretty tight bonds over the years and it's going to be different not having Dave around for sure."
Scifres said it was "shocking" to hear that Binn was gone. This would have been the 18th NFL season for the long snapper.
"I couldn't ask for a better teammate, a better snapper to punt behind," Scifres said. "Not only how good of a snapper he is, but what he brought other than just the snapping, the knowledge of the game, kicking and punting. It helped out Nate and I both tremendously. As tough as it is, I gained a great friend out of it. He had a great career, 18 years. I don't know how many guys you're going to find who played that long with one team.
"What he did was unbelievable. He was the best."
Binn is San Diego's all-time leader in games played with 256, not counting 12 in the postseason. Binn injured a hamstring during the 2010 season opener at Kansas City and missed the rest of the year, ending his team-record streak of 179 consecutive games played.
Kaeding and Scifres said Binn was a perfectionist at delivering them the ball with the laces in the right place.
"He came out every day with a purpose," Scifres said. While kickers and punters have a reputation for mostly standing around during practice, "Dave was always snapping. Snap, snap, snap," Scifres said. "You almost had to tell him to stop at times. He wanted to be the best, and he was. Every field goal snap, a guy could close his eyes and you'd guarantee the laces would be straight out, and on punt snaps, he was going to hit the spot every time. That's all you can ask for."
Said Kaeding: "It's different. It's awkward to be here and have him not be here."
Binn wasn't available for comment. Kaeding said he wouldn't be surprised if Binn kept playing somewhere.
Beathard signed Binn as a rookie free agent in 1994 out of California. The Chargers made it to their only Super Bowl that season, losing 49-26 to the San Francisco 49ers. Beathard retired in 2000.
"David set the standard for everything," Windt said. "I hope to live up to the standard."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press