Spanos: Jackson, McNeill to blame for holdouts, not Chargers

San Diego Chargers president Dean Spanos made it clear Thursday that he supports general manager A.J. Smith in the no-end-in-sight stalemate between the team and its two Pro Bowl holdouts, wide receiver Vincent Jackson and left tackle Marcus McNeill.

In an interview with the *The San Diego Union-Tribune*, Spanos indicated that Jackson and McNeill -- and not Chargers management -- are responsible for their absence from the team as it prepares for Monday night's season opener at Kansas City.

"They have put themselves in this position. We did not put them in this position," Spanos told The Union-Tribune. "It's very clear to me, obviously, the CBA changed this year ... We tendered them the highest possible offer we could, which is $3.2 or $3.3 million, which far exceeded their previous four years salaries collectively. They had 2½ months to go out and find a team to play for. They didn't, or couldn't. They elected at the end of 2½ months to not sign the tender. That's the end of the story.

"It was a business decision they made," Spanos added. "I wish they were here, I wish they were playing for us. I believe they need to sign the tenders and come in and see what happens after that."

As a restricted free agent, Jackson was tendered at $3.268 million this offseason, but he didn't sign by the June 15 deadline and forfeited approximately $2.5 million because the Chargers exercised their right to lower the offer.

In August, the Chargers placed Jackson on the roster-exempt list, meaning he can't play for three games after the date he signs and reports to the team. Jackson also has been suspended by the NFL for the first three games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, and there is a debate about whether he can serve the sentences concurrently.

McNeill, unhappy about being tendered a one-year, $3.168 million contract as a restricted free agent, is no closer to signing with the Chargers.

While the team has granted permission for Jackson to negotiate with other teams, McNeill hasn't been given the same treatment, and the Chargers don't intend to trade him.

"I was part of all the process," Spanos said. "I know exactly what our position was and why we made the decisions we made. I fully support our general manager on it."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.