First off, it marked the potential last game the team might play at Qualcomm as the NFL owners will meet in early January to come to a decision on the Los Angeles stadium saga.
It also marked the last home game for wide receiver Malcom Floyd as he announced earlier in the year that this would be his last season. Floyd was drafted by the Chargers in 2004 and has spent every season of his career with the team.
Along with Floyd, it also most likely signaled the last home game for safety Eric Weddle, who is not expected to sign back with the team next season. Weddle was drafted by the team in 2007 and has been one of the team’s premier defenders since.
Tight end Antonio Gates will be a free agent after next season as well, and there is no indication that the team has any plans to sign him back.
The day was clearly emotional for quarterback Philip Rivers, who fought back tears in his postgame press conference.
“It’s clear the Chargers mean more to this community and these fans than the wins and losses,” he said. “The atmosphere today was awesome. Shoot, (the fans) are still out there now.”
Rivers, Weddle and Floyd were among some of the players who came back onto the field to sign autographs and spend time with fans as thousands stuck around for what might be the last game at “The Q.”
Gates turned himself into one of the greatest tight ends in his 13-year career, all with the Chargers, and has plenty of memories he made at Qualcomm Stadium in his record-breaking career.
“You can only control what you can control as a football player and our job is to come out and play hard and that’s all we can control at this point,” he said t0 Chargers.com. “Hopefully we’ll be back. If not, we’ll just see what the future holds.”
The Chargers (4-10) still have two games remaining this season, beginning with a Thursday Night Football matchup with the Oakland Raiders.
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