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Charles healthy, gets 2nd chance

Ex-PSU receiver hopes for role with Chargers

He caught two passes for only 16 yards, hardly highlight material, but playing against the Seattle Seahawks in a recent exhibition game felt like the Super Bowl to Terry Charles.

It was the former Portland State receiver's first game action since his second knee surgery. He missed his NFL rookie season after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his left knee shortly after the San Diego Chargers selected him in the 2002 draft.

'I wasn't worried about the knee. I was worried about my performance,' Charles said after the Seattle game. 'I had fun out there. I'm just glad the Chargers gave me a second chance. I'm enjoying it, and I'm trying to maximize every opportunity.'

A spot on the roster hasn't been assured, however, as Charles is battling for the fifth and maybe final receiver position. By Labor Day, he will know where he stands.

'Anytime you're not a starter, your job's not secure,' Charles says. 'If things turn out to where I don't make the team, I'm sure I'll be OK. Hopefully, I'll perform well enough to entice another team to pick me up.'

No doubt the 6-3, 208-pound Charles has the size to play, but NFL teams often look to their fifth receiver to play special teams or return punts. The Chargers haven't asked Charles to do anything but catch passes.

The Chargers have invested plenty in Charles, paying his full rookie salary and allowing him to rehabilitate at their training facility in San Diego.

'I was expecting the game to be a thousand miles a minute,' Charles says. 'As long as you know what you're doing, it's not so fast.'

Charles says he and Juston Wood, his former PSU quarterback, talk almost every day. Wood is trying to make the Minnesota Vikings as a third-string quarterback.