San Diego sticking to old contract offer

Updated: August 22, 2004, 1:43 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

After more than a week at home in Raleigh, N.C., biding his time while waiting for his contract situation to be resolved, holdout quarterback Philip Rivers is back in San Diego.

Of course, that news might be more meaningful if the Chargers weren't in Tempe, Ariz., for a Saturday night preseason game. Or if there was any chance that Rivers, their first-round pick and the last unsigned player from the draft's opening round, might join them there.

The latter possibility certainly isn't going to occur.

Just when the two sides will get together, in fact, was further muddied on Friday, when the Chargers rejected several new proposals from Rivers' agent, Jimmy Sexton, and essentially stuck to the offer they made to the former North Carolina State star earlier this month.

ESPN.com learned that Sexton this week presented the Chargers with three proposals aimed at ending his client's absence from training camp. The proposals, about which Sexton said he was "cautiously optimistic," jump-started negotiations. Talks had stalled on Aug. 8, when Chargers officials publicly announced that Rivers missed a deadline for agreeing to their final offer.

The public stance of the Chargers set off a war of words, with Sexton, who rarely speaks to the media, firing back at the team. It also sent Rivers, who had remained in the San Diego area to that point, back home to North Carolina to work privately on conditioning. He returned to San Diego earlier this week, perhaps in advance of what he felt might be a pending agreement.

What happens now is anyone's guess.

It is likely the two sides will continue the dialogue through the weekend in an attempt to get Rivers into camp and onto the practice field. But it is also clear that San Diego ownership sees very little, if any, wiggle room in its proposal.

The fourth overall pick in the draft, Rivers was traded by the Giants to San Diego as part of a package that sent top overall choice Eli Manning to New York.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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