Backup plan: Chargers deal for Titans QB Volek
SAN DIEGO -- After watching two division rivals lose their starting quarterbacks to injuries, the San Diego Chargers obtained Billy Volek from Tennessee on Tuesday to give them a veteran behind first-year starter Philip Rivers.
Volek wanted out of Tennessee since being demoted to third-stringer behind rookie Vince Young after the Titans signed Kerry Collins. He got his wish, but the deal was delayed for obvious reasons because the Titans played the Chargers on Sunday. San Diego won 40-7 to improve to 2-0 atop the AFC West. Volek was the inactive third QB.
"He's awfully enthusiastic about joining a team with the quality that the Chargers represent," said his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. "This is a nice opportunity for Billy to go to a team that is playing very well right now, and has a need for a veteran quarterback."
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Rosenhaus was involved in the deal because Volek, who played at Fresno State, had to waive his no-trade clause in order to return to his home state.
The Chargers, who opened the season with the untested Rivers and rookie Charlie Whitehurst as their only quarterbacks, gave up a sixth-round draft pick that could become a fifth-rounder if Volek participates in 50 percent of San Diego's offensive plays this year.
"I think we're a good football team and I'd like to protect it," general manager A.J. Smith said. "We just like his experience factor, and he's a pretty solid quarterback. More importantly, the reason is it adds depth. He was looking for a change of scenery and we were contemplating if he was the right guy to add to our depth."
Division rival Kansas City reportedly inquired about Volek after Trent Green suffered a concussion in the Chiefs' season opener. On Sunday, Oakland lost Aaron Brooks for two to four weeks with a strained pectoral muscle. The Chargers sacked Brooks nine times in a season-opening 27-0 win.
Volek was chosen as the Titans' starter in June after Steve McNair was traded to Baltimore. But when the Titans signed Collins on Aug. 29, Volek was dropped behind Young on the depth chart.
Rivers, a third-year pro, began the season with zero NFL starts and one touchdown pass. In San Diego's two routs, he's completed 33 of 46 passes (71.7 percent) for 343 yards and two touchdowns.
San Diego's only other quarterback through two games was rookie Charlie Whitehurst. He made his NFL debut in mop-up duty Sunday and scored on a 14-yard run with 1:53 left. His father, David, played for the Green Bay Packers from 1976-83.
San Diego released veteran backup A.J. Feeley on Aug. 28.
Volek is 3-7 as a starter, including eight starts in 2004 when McNair had a sternum injury. He made his second career start that season at San Diego, throwing for 279 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-17 loss.
Rosenhaus said he anticipated Volek would fly to San Diego on Tuesday. The Chargers are off this weekend before facing their toughest test yet, at Baltimore on Oct. 1.
"It's very fortuitous that the club has a bye this week because it gives Billy a chance to learn the system and acclimate himself before the next ballgame," Rosenhaus said.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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