Chargers cut Starks a day after bad performance


Published: Friday, August 30, 2013 at 4:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 30, 2013 at 4:44 p.m.

SAN DIEGO — Left tackle Max Starks reached the end of the road Friday, at least with the San Diego Chargers.

After playing what he called “probably one of my worst games in my entire career,” Starks was among 11 players cut by the Chargers, who must release 11 more by Saturday afternoon to get down to the 53-man limit.

The 10-year veteran out of Florida allowed three sacks in a 41-6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Thursday night’s exhibition finale.

Starks, who won two Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers, had already lost the battle with King Dunlap to protect quarterback Philip Rivers’ blind side, although rookie coach Mike McCoy hadn’t made it official.

On Thursday night, Starks seemed prepared for whatever happened.

Asked how he thought he figured into the mix, Starks said: “That’s a good question. I don’t know how many guys they’re keeping. It’s just waiting until Saturday to see if I get the call or if I don’t get the call, or if I get ready for the Houston Texans or if I’m going elsewhere.

“If it does happen, it does and you move on. I had the opportunity and made the most of it. But ultimately, it comes down to how this team figures they can compete.”

Starks wasn’t available for comment Friday.

McCoy said Friday that Starks “struggled a little bit, I think. That’s all part of the business. We’re moving forward.”

Dunlap started and played well in last Saturday night’s 24-7 victory at Arizona in the third exhibition game, the one usually considered the dress rehearsal for the regular season.

Dunlap even came back after injuring his right ankle. While Dunlap was getting taped up, Mike Harris, not Starks, replaced him.

Dunlap, who had been with Philadelphia, was signed on March 12, the opening day of free agency. Starks was signed on May 21.

The Chargers need a dependable left tackle after going through the debacle last year with Jared Gaither, who was released in the offseason because of a poor work ethic.

Another Chargers player who could get cut is wide receiver Robert Meachem, who has a guaranteed $5 million salary for 2013. He had four catches Thursday night before sustaining a concussion. Meacham has been a forgotten man since dropping a potential touchdown pass in a 7-6 loss at Cleveland last season.

After getting dominated in the exhibition season by NFC playoff powers San Francisco and Seattle, there are serious questions about the Chargers’ backups. San Diego has missed the playoffs the last three seasons.

“Everyone has issues on a football team and that is why you have your starters,” McCoy said Thursday night. “And that’s why you’ve got to build depth on a football team and that is what everyone is trying to do right now.”

Rookie linebacker Manti Te’o was back in his walking boot as he watched Thursday’s game from the sideline in a sweatsuit. Te’o has been out since spraining his right foot in the exhibition opener against Seattle on Aug. 8 He was out of the boot Tuesday, although he hasn’t been cleared to practice.

Te’o said being back in the boot was a precaution.

“We’ve made great strides and they didn’t want to take any steps backward,” he said Thursday night.

McCoy wouldn’t elaborate on Friday.

“I’m not a doctor, to be perfectly honest with you, so I don’t have all those answers all the time on why certain things are done ... but there’s a reason for why he had it back on,” the coach said.

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