Ex-Chargers, Faulconer meet on stadium proposal, funding
Published - 03/06/15 - 08:40 AM | 3540 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and two members of the Citizens' Stadium Advisory Group met March 5 with 12 retired Chargers as Faulconer reportedly emphasized his desire to keep the franchise in San Diego.

All six decades of Chargers football were represented at the meeting. Those in attendance included retired center Nick Hardwick, outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, Pro Football Hall of Fame guard Ron Mix and center Don Macek. Cornerback Willie Buchanon, punter Darren Bennett, kicker John Carney, long snapper David Binn, linebacker Donnie Edwards, running back Hank Bauer, linebacker Jim Laslavic and linebacker Billy Ray Smith also attended.

Running back LaDainian Tomlinson planned to attend, but his flight was grounded due to snow in Dallas. Hall of Fame receiver Lance Alworth, kicker Rolf Benirschke and receiver Wes Chandler were out of town. The franchise has been in San Diego since 1961.

Faulconer called it a "great, positive meeting. "They know it’s important for the whole city to come together to get this done," Faulconer said. "It was a great cross-section of Chargers history, and what really came through is a commitment and a lot of passion. … It takes everybody working together to accomplish success. There is a lot of work to do. It’s great we have so many guys that are committed to the Chargers, and that really showed through."

The Chargers franchise keeps one eye on local progress and the other north in Carson. There, the team is in the process of purchasing a plot of land presented as the franchise's possible future home, with the Oakland Raiders sharing the stadium site. The former players described the meeting's mood as light but cohesive, and many praised what they described as a genuine commitment from the mayor.

"Everyone was on common ground in the room," Merriman said. "We all agreed that we — along with some other people — can come together and keep growing the knowledge that people need to have about this issue."

"(The mayor) wants as many supporters as he can get," Carney said. "He wanted to find out what was the temperature of the former players. There's men in that room who are now in the media or in law, very successful men in business, private enterprise. He wanted to know what our pulse was like regarding the stadium issue and the future of the Chargers. I think he understands and was certainly confirmed that we're San Diego Chargers. We want the Chargers to remain here in San Diego."

Adam Day, group chairman, and Jim Steeg, former Chargers CEO, were present as task force representatives. One of the talking points delivered to the former players was that a new stadium wouldn't solely be for the Chargers and that it would serve as a regional asset for such multi-use events as concerts, Super Bowls and soccer games that the area otherwise wouldn't host. This spring, the task force is expected to submit a stadium plan to Faulconer that includes how to finance it.

– U-T San Diego
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