New Chargers Boston, Lassiter face old team

Updated: August 15, 2003, 8:27 PM ET

SAN DIEGO -- New San Diego Chargers wide receiver David Boston has no ill feelings toward the Arizona Cardinals. He appreciates that they brought him into the NFL and helped him make millions of dollars.

Free safety Kwamie Lassiter, on the other hand, barely disguises his bitterness toward his former employer.

"They have a good coaching staff over there, that's about it," Lassiter said of the Cardinals, who visit the Chargers Saturday night.

Lassiter spent eight seasons with the Cardinals. He knew at the end of last season that he would probably be moving on and was bitter about management's failure to re-sign him.

"I tried to make it work there. Unfortunately it didn't work," he said this week.

He signed a three-year contract with the Chargers and is one of four new starters in what was the NFL's most porous secondary last year.

"It all works out for a reason," Lassiter said.

His signing helped lead to the release on Tuesday of Ryan McNeil, a Pro Bowler two years ago who was moved from cornerback to free safety after last season's 8-8 finish.

Lassiter said it would mean more to him if the Chargers played the Cardinals in a game that counted. He said he's focusing more on helping the Chargers get ready for the season-opener on Sept. 7 at Kansas City.

"I won't have emotions. I'm going to go out there and whatever play is called defensively, I'll run that play. If I get a shot on somebody, that's part of football," Lassiter said of facing the Cardinals.

Lassiter rattled off the names of some Arizona players he thinks will do well.

"They have some spot players who are pretty good who should help them win some games that you wouldn't think they would win," Lassiter said.

In the 1998 season finale against San Diego, Lassiter tied an NFL single-game record with four interceptions to seal a 16-13 victory that sent the Cardinals to the playoffs. They haven't been back since.

The Cardinals were 5-11 last year. The Chargers lost seven of their last nine games and missed the postseason for the seventh straight season.

Boston, who signed a $47 million contract with San Diego as a free agent, thanked the Cardinals for giving him his start.

"They helped me out in my career and my life," Boston said. "If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be where I am now."

The Cardinals didn't make Boston an offer after last season.

"I'm sure every player would like to be a free agent," he said. "That's why you play football, to have a chance to pick where you want to play, and a situation you want to come into. That's every player's dream."

Boston, slowed in training camp by a strained side muscle and a bruised heel injury, is expected to play after missing last Saturday night's loss at Seattle.

Also expected to be in for a few plays is running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who took himself out of practice Thursday because of dehydration.

The Cardinals beat Dallas 13-0 last weekend, but the first-team offense had only got two field goals.

"I really want our offense to score a couple of touchdowns," quarterback Jeff Blake said. "That would really put us where we want to be. The defense played well. You can't ask for anything better than a shutout."

Running back Emmitt Smith probably won't play. Backup running back Marcel Shipp (sore knee) and cornerback Renaldo Hill (sprained ankle) also won't play. Coach Dave McGinnis wants to get a good look at Damien Anderson, Josh Scobey and Travis Prentice, who are battling for the No.3 running back job.

"I've got to see those other three backs. I mean, I have to see them," McGinnis said. "I've only got three opportunities in live game situations. I want to see them against the first team defenses. I know what Emmitt Smith can do."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index