The Chargers dumped offensive tackle Jared Gaither this week after a 2012 season in which he made $9 million while playing only four games and was plagued by injuries. Although some in San Diego doubt that Gaither was actually hurt as badly as he claimed he was.
Sources inside the Chargers’ facility told Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego that while Gaither was missing time with back spasms, the Chargers’ medical staff doubted the severity of Gaither’s injury.
Gaither was struggling to stay on the field from the first practice of training camp, which he left with cramps. On the third day of training camp he complained of back spasms and didn’t practice or play again for two months after that.
Of course, it’s impossible for anyone else to get inside Gaither’s body and say whether he really was having the kind of severe back pain that made it impossible to play, whether he was having the kind of minor aches and pains that NFL players just have to toughen up and play through, or whether he was just using “back pain” as a convenient excuse to get out of doing any work for the $9 million the Chargers were paying him. The Chargers’ medical staff is already under fire from the NFL Players Association, and putting out word that they doubt a player who says he’s hurt will do nothing to change that.
For Gaither, a reputation for lacking toughness won’t help him catch on elsewhere. He’s now a free agent, and starting left tackles usually do well in free agency. But players who have been accused of faking injuries to get out of practice don’t do well anywhere in the NFL.