Chargers bench right offensive tackle for Chiefs game

Updated: November 29, 2007, 12:32 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Shane Olivea, who has started all but two games at right offensive tackle since San Diego chose him in the seventh round of the 2004 draft, has been benched for Sunday's game against Kansas City.

Shane Olivea

Olivea

Jeromey Clary, a second-year veteran who has played in 11 games and started only one, will replace Olivea in the lineup.

In last week's victory over Baltimore, Clary replaced Olivea in the second quarter. Coach Norv Turner then elevated Clary to the first unit in practice this week, although he stopped short of saying the move was effective for the rest of the season.

"We'll just see," Turner told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I hope it's not something we have to change at the end of a quarter, but it's a competitive situation right now."

Olivea, 26, has been regarded by some league personnel evaluators as one of the NFL's most consistent right tackles, a position that has lacked quality leaguewide the past few seasons. Despite his low-round draft status, Olivea earned a starting job as a rookie in 2004 and started all 16 games that season.

The former Ohio State lineman has missed only two of a possible 59 games, one in '05 because of a sprained knee, and the Sept. 23 game this season when his back stiffened.

Only 15 months ago, Chargers officials thought enough of Olivea to identify him as one of the nucleus players for their future and proactively signed him to a six-year, $20 million contract that runs through the 2011 season. The deal included $7.5 million in bonuses.

Clary, 24, was the Chargers' sixth-round pick in the 2006 draft, and the former Kansas State blocker spent his rookie season on the team's practice squad.

The San Diego offense statistically ranks 21st in the league through 11 games after finishing the 2006 season rated No. 4.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.