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Kiel, facing felony drug chargers, returns to practice

SAN DIEGO -- Chargers safety Terrence Kiel, who is facing
five felony drug charges, on Wednesday went through his first
full-scale practice since being arrested last week at the team's
headquarters.

Terrence Kiel Kiel

Free on a $160,000 bond, Kiel could return to the starting
lineup on Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, coach Marty
Schottenheimer said.

"It feels good to be running around," Kiel said. "It's always
been a blessing to play football. Any time I can get out there on
the field I think you should take advantage of it."

Kiel has been charged with shipping and possession of large
quantities of prescription cough syrup, which is a controlled
substance. Although Drug Enforcement Administration investigators
said Kiel admitted he shipped at least two packages and knew of the
contents, Kiel pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Tuesday.


According to an affidavit for a search warrant, FedEx managers
searched a package Kiel mailed with his FedEx account in June and
found 15 bottles of Prometh prescription cough syrup in the box. A
boarding pass found inside the box led DEA agents to an address
Kiel used to register a car. Three bottles of Prometh were seized
last week at that address.

Kiel paid cash to send a second package to Texas in September,
prompting a FedEx manager to contact the DEA, according to the
affidavit.

Kiel could face up to seven years, four months in prison if convicted, prosecutor James Fontaine told the San Diego Union-Tribune. But most cases are settled before trial. Kiel's trial readiness hearing is scheduled for Nov. 14.

"At the next hearing, we'll talk with Mr. Grimes and discuss settling the case," Fontaine told the Union-Tribune.

Kiel, who has started 38 games for the Chargers, wasn't allowed
to practice last week or play in Sunday's devastating loss to the
Baltimore Ravens.

"I'm not going to say I'm encouraged but I would like to say I have faith in God. The legal system, that will all play out. I put faith in God before I put it in the legal system or anybody else."
-- Terrence Kiel on facing felony drug charges

"It was hard for me to watch," Kiel said. "I wasn't out
there, but I felt like I was out there mentally and physically with
the team. I wish I was out there of course. I didn't want to be
watching it on TV. I'd rather be playing it. But other than that I
was there mentally with them."

Kiel's teammates have been supportive.

"That's my brother," cornerback Quentin Jammer said. "This is
a family away from home because we spend so much time with these
guys, they become family. You put your arm around him and you just
let him know that everything will work itself out. God will find a
way to work everything out and he'll be OK."

Added quarterback Philip Rivers: "I treat him like I always
would if I saw him on a regular morning and I think that is what he
wants. It was a tough week for him and it affected us in a way of
not having a guy here. But I don't treat him differently. He'll
step in and I expect him to have a good game. You never hope
anybody gets in those situations. But he has handled everything
well and we do support him."

Kiel hopes his situation turns out better than some expect.

"I'm not going to say I'm encouraged but I would like to say I
have faith in God," Kiel said. "The legal system, that will all
play out. I put faith in God before I put it in the legal system or
anybody else."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.