Click on link for complete article.By Kevin Acee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
July 25, 2006
Antonio Cromartie won't be on time, after all. And he's the only one.
The Chargers reached an agreement on a four-year contract with second-round pick Marcus McNeill last night. But despite previous optimism, they will begin workouts with rookies and select veterans today without their top draft pick.
“I feel confident how negotiations have gone,” said Jason Fletcher, Cromartie's agent. “It's just we had a deadline, meaning today, and we weren't able to meet it. Things are still positive. We're both negotiating to get to some fair numbers.”
Rookies, quarterbacks and veterans who were injured at the end of last season or had offseason surgery practice this morning and this afternoon.
Having finalized deals by yesterday morning with all but the top two picks, third-round selection Charlie Whitehurst and sixth-round pick Kurt Smith, the Chargers signed the latter two by late afternoon. They finished McNeill's deal around 8 p.m.
As Whitehurst, who figures to be the team's third quarterback, headed to the executive offices to sign his contract, he was nonchalant.
“I knew it was going to happen,” he said. “I'm a third-round pick. I don't think it's good for a third-rounder to hold out.”
No, but the Chargers are used to having draft picks report late.
Barring an early coming-together this morning, Cromartie will become the ninth first-round pick out of the Chargers' past 12 to miss at least some practice time.
Their last first-round pick to report on time was Sammy Davis in 2003.