The Chargers officially ended the season for starting outside linebacker Steve Foley by placing him on the non-football injury list Monday, a day after he was shot near his San Diego home by an off-duty police officer. By going on the non-football injury list, Foley will not be able to collect his $1.65 million salary this season, which consists of a $775,000 base and an $875,000 roster bonus. Players placed on the non-football injury list usually don’t collect their salary because the injury isn’t related to the football field.
This was a particularly tough decision for Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, who signed Foley in 2004 in what was the start of building one of the NFL’s top and most feared 3-4 defenses. Foley, who turns 31 next Monday, has 29 starts as a Charger and is considered one of the leaders on the team.
Smith issued a brief statement Monday afternoon saying, “Steve’s health needs to be his number one priority. Football is secondary now. Steve needs to focus on his recovery.”
The Chargers general manager has been gathering medical information for the past 24 hours to determine Foley’s status for the season. Though the injuries weren’t considered life threatening, Smith had to determine Foley’s ability to play this season. He decided Monday afternoon that the season was over for a Chargers linebacker who had 14 sacks over the past two seasons.
For the Chargers, the loss of Foley for the year is a major setback, but the team will have to rely on a deep corps of linebackers to get through the season without him.
“Steve is an intregal part of our defense, and of course it hurts,” Smith said. “But you don’t moan and grown and complain about it. This is a tough world we live in and sometimes life delivers a blow and knocks you down. So what are you going to do about it. You get up and regroup and get after it again. And that’s what we will do.”
The Chargers will probably give Shaun Phillips the starting job on the other side of Shawne Merriman because of Foley’s season-ending injury.
“To be honest right now,” Smith said, “At this moment, all I care about is Steve Foley’s well-being.”
Incredible. You’d think a man making $1.65 million a year could figure out how to get home without provoking a police officer to shoot him multiple times.
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