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Chargers place LT Gaither on IR

Chargers place LT Gaither on IR

SAN DIEGO (AP) The San Diego Chargers placed left tackle Jared Gaither on injured reserve Friday, ending an unproductive season for a player expected to shore up a shaky offensive line.

``We've given Jared Gaither every opportunity to be a part of this team and it just hasn't worked out,'' said coach Norv Turner, who clearly was disappointed at the way the lineman's season has gone.

``Obviously, physically he hasn't been able to be part of it.''

Asked if he was happy with the work ethic of the 6-foot-9, 335-pound Gaither, the coach said: ``It is what it is. There's not really a lot left to be said about it.''

Gaither played in only four games this season. He missed almost all of training camp and the first three games with a back injury. He injured his groin late in a loss at New Orleans and played in only two games since.

In the closing seconds of the Saints game, with the Chargers desperately trying for the tying touchdown, Martez Wilson blew past the hobbled Gaither on Philip Rivers' blind side for a strip-sack and recovered the fumble to preserve the Saints' 31-24 victory.

Gaither was signed off waivers after Marcus McNeill was hurt late last year, and played well in the final five games. The Chargers gave Gaither a four-year, $24.5 million contract in March.

Rivers has been under siege most of the season because of the line's poor play. Adding to San Diego's woes was the retirement of left guard Kris Dielman due to a concussion.

Rivers has thrown 14 interceptions and lost four fumbles this season, giving him 43 turnovers since the start of the 2011 season.

Undrafted rookie Mike Harris has filled in for Gaither, and will have to face Terrell Suggs of the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

``I don't know what we would have done without him,'' Turner said about Harris. ``He's a guy who's improved and working as hard as he can. He's been in some tough matchups and he's managed to the best of his ability.''

Asked if he'd like to see Gaither back next year, Turner said: ``You know, we're going to start getting those questions about a lot of things. I'm interested in doing what we can to give this team the best chance to win the Baltimore game. Obviously, after that we move on to the next opponent.''

Turner is expected to be fired if the Chargers miss the playoffs for the third straight season. At 4-6, the Chargers have all but ceded the AFC West title to the Denver Broncos and are a longshot to secure a wild-card berth.

The Chargers are expected to sign tackle Kevin Haslam from the practice squad to the active roster.

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Ravens tight end suspended a year or more for violating substance abuse policy

Ravens tight end suspended a year or more for violating substance abuse policy

The NFL announced today that tight end Darren Waller of the Baltimore Ravens would be suspended for a year or longer for his second violation of the substance abuse policy.

Waller was a 2015 sixth-round pick out of Georgia Tech who served a four-game suspension to start the 2016 season for a substance abuse violation. After returning from his suspension last year, he posted 10 catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns in a limited role.

After his 2016 violation, he was quoted as saying [via Ravens.com]:

“There were other personal issues, and [marijuana] was the one thing I always turned to,” Waller said. “It was just about finding more positive outlets for me to do, like talking to people about it and things like that. I’m definitely at a better place with that now.”

Unfortunately for the Ravens, he will miss the 2017 season and potentially longer after the latest violation. It leaves the Ravens down two tight ends from last year after Dennis Pitta was released earlier this month after re-injuring his hip.

MORE RAVENS: Zach Orr considering coming out of retirement

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Former Raven Zach Orr considering NFL comeback after postive health prognosis

Former Raven Zach Orr considering NFL comeback after postive health prognosis

In January of 2017, former Ravens linebacker Zach Orr took the podium at the team's training facility alongside head coach John Harbaugh, GM Ozzie Newsome and defensive coordinator Dean Pees, to announce he would be retiring from football at the age of 24.

Why? Orr suffered a shoulder injury during their week 16 game against longtime rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, which shed light into a condition he's had since birth.

He had a routine MRI, but the Ravens training staff suggested a full body CAT scan as well. The CAT scan reveled Orr had a congenital back/spine condition where one of the upper vertebra isn't totally formed causing there to be an opening. Less than 1 percent of people are born with such a condition and he wasn't aware of it until he suffered this injury.

Doctors told Orr he was at risk of paralysis or even death if he played with such a condition. He also would have never been able to pass an NFL physical, ultimately forcing him to retire.

During his press conference, Orr said this,

"If there's some miracle way where I can play the game, I promise I'd be the first one to grab my cleats again, start back training and try to find a way to get back out there," Orr said.

Well, fast forward to today and it seems that miracle may have happened.

NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo told Good Morning Football that after getting a second opinion from doctors, and receiving positive news, Orr is considering a return to the NFL.

"I had my mind made up. I was like man, the doctors told me I was done. This is a serious issue. So I'm going to leave it alone. But I just kept hearing that from multiple people and some were telling me to just go check out and seek out some more opinions and things like that and come to find out my condition, it is rare – .01 percent of the people have what I have – but there's no actual evidence or facts that I'm at a higher risk than any other player. And it's actually been documented that a college player who had the exact same thing that I have that returned to play with no problems."

The doctors' real concerns would be if someone with Orr's spinal condition played with a herniated disk. He did suffer from herniated disks last season, but that injury has since diminished. 

MORE RAVENS: 2017 PRESEASON SCHEDULE

If Orr does decide to get back into the NFL, getting signed could be pretty easy. 

When he announced his retirement, he never filed for retirement papers and the Ravens never placed him on their reserve/retired list because they never thought he would play again.

Because of this, Orr is considered an unrestricted free agent and can sign with a team right away. 

Orr had his best season in 2016, where he lead the Ravens in tackles with 133. It's been reported that eight teams have reached out to the linebacker since his announcement and that he will be meeting with the Lions on Thursday.