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Max Tuerk signs contract with San Diego Chargers

The Max Tuerk era rolls on in Southern California. It's just moving a hundred miles south.

The Chargers on Thursday signed their third-round center to a four-year deal, per the team's Twitter feed:

Here's another angle for you die-hards:

The 66th overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, Tuerk operated as a versatile lineman for the USC Trojans, starting 38 games in college at a variety of positions including center, left guard, left tackle and right tackle.

First-round pass rusher Joey Bosa now looms as the only Chargers rookie yet to agree to terms with the club.

Rebounding from the torn ACL he suffered last October, Tuerk was seen running during offseason practices and is expected to be ready for training camp. He's currently ticketed for a backup role behind center Matt Slauson, but Tuerk -- listed at 6-foot-5 and 298 pounds on the team's official website -- was drafted as San Diego's pivot of the future.

"I like him over (Colts first-round center Ryan) Kelly but he really had a bad injury," one scout told Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel before the draft. "He can pull and do all kinds of things. But he's really a slight built guy."

Another scout said of Tuerk: "Really a big-time athlete. He's (Falcons center Alex) Mack, the same type of guy. He is so quick and so athletic. Somebody told me he might be too tall for center and I said, 'You've got to be kidding me?'"

Tuerk was confident after the draft, telling "I'm versatile. I can play anywhere along the offensive line. I'm tough. I'm a physical player. Extremely athletic."

Signing Slauson in May, though, allows the Chargers to take their proper time with Tuerk's recovery and development. Quarterback Philip Rivers -- after seeing San Diego shuffle through centers in recent campaigns -- gushed over Slauson, the former Jets and Bears guard, telling the San Diego Union-Tribune in May: "You'd think he was playing center for all of his career."

San Diego today sports the makings of a strong front five including bookend King Dunlap, left guard Orlando Franklin and right guard D.J. Fluker. With a starting group that averages 6-foot-6 and 327 pounds, the Bolts rank as the NFL's second-largest offensive line behind the Raiders.

No matter the pecking order, O-line coach Jeff Davidson expects Tuerk to step in and battle for snaps right away.

"Max has got tremendous quickness," Davidson said in June. "He is an exceptional athlete inside. He's a smart guy, and someone I consider to be a true pro. I've seen the way that he works, and I've watched a lot of film on this guy. I think he will help us on the interior. I don't want to say that he's a center only. He is going to have to compete at guard also, but again, he has to earn a spot in that room."

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