COSTA MESA — Chargers coach Anthony Lynn wasn’t ready to make a decision on whether he’ll activate running back Austin Ekeler and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. for Sunday’s road game against the Buffalo Bills, but he provided some optimism.

“I won’t say there’s a good chance, but there is a chance,” Lynn said Friday afternoon about the two starters playing.

Many Chargers fans were probably hoping to hear more optimism from Lynn after the team released its final injury report for Week 12. Cornerback Casey Hayward and defensive ends Uchenna Nwosu and Melvin Ingram were ruled out.

The confidence boost came two hours after Lynn spoke to reporters, when the team announced that Harris was activated to the 53-man roster. But to make room for Harris, the Chargers placed Ingram on injured reserve, which will sideline him for at least three games.

The Chargers will face MVP candidate quarterback Josh Allen and his high-octane offense without their No. 1 cornerback and two of their top three pass rushers, but they’ll at least have some reinforcements in Harris, their best slot cornerback.

Having Ekeler on the field to keep pace with the Bills’ offense would certainly help, but Lynn will wait until Saturday afternoon to make that decision. Ekeler was designated to return from injured reserve this week. He hasn’t played since injuring his hamstring in Week 4 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I’m just going to go by the information that I get from trainers, our doctors and watch these young men move on the field (Saturday) and see who can play and help us if they can play at all,” Lynn said.

Harris will likely be on a snap count because he hasn’t played since injuring his foot in Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers. But his versatility as a cornerback who can play on the inside and outside will help with Hayward sidelined because of a groin injury.

Hayward will miss his first game since 2013 when he was a second-year player for the Green Bay Packers. He has a streak of 106 consecutive games played, the longest active streak among cornerbacks.

Tevaughn Campbell, who filled in for Harris at slot cornerback, could see snaps as an outside cornerback, according to Lynn. Campbell had an interception return for a touchdown last week against the Jets and has impressed Lynn with his weekly improvements.

The Chargers will also have cornerback Brandon Facyson, who is expected to come off the COVID-19 reserve list, according to Lynn. Facyson hasn’t played since Week 8 against the Denver Broncos.

Lynn mentioned practice squad player Jaylen Watkins could be promoted and involved in the cornerback rotation.

The Chargers’ secondary won’t have to worry about Bills speedy wideout John Brown because he was ruled out with an ankle injury. But they’ll have their hands full with wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley. Diggs is third in the league with 906 receiving yards.

As for applying pressure on Allen, the Chargers will be thin at defensive end with Ingram and Nwosu out. The two edge rushers play the “LEO” position for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

The Los Angeles Chargers’ Melvin Ingram III watches drills during training camp at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, CA on Thursday, August 20, 2020. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Lynn said he’ll use a rotation of Joey Bosa, Jerry Tillery and Emeke Egbule for the LEO spot and decide based on the hot hand. Bosa usually plays “big end,” and most of Tillery’s snaps have come as a defensive tackle this season, but Tillery played defensive end when Bosa was sidelined two games with a concussion.

Egbule, a second-year player, was moved from linebacker to pass rusher this season.

“He’s hurt us some just because he didn’t know the (defensive end) techniques out there,” Lynn said about Tillery. “You go back to that Raiders game, they served the defense a lot on his side. He’s improved a lot since then at that position, so I expect him to play even better.”

Ingram was placed on injured reserve for the second time this season because of the same knee injury. He missed games against the Panthers, Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints, but the Chargers at least had Nwosu to replace him on the starting defensive line.

Nwosu injured his shoulder last week and is expected to miss multiple weeks. This will be the first missed game for Nwosu since the Chargers drafted him in the second round of the 2018 draft out of USC.

“It’s been an ongoing thing and Melvin has been fighting through it,” Lynn said. “He’s a soldier. He’s been trying to play with it, but right now, it’s best he gives that some rest.”


Running back Kalen Ballage was listed as questionable for Sunday after being limited throughout the week with an ankle/calf injury.

Ballage has been the lead back for the Chargers the past three games. Joshua Kelley and Troymaine Pope will likely split carries if Ekeler and Ballage are sidelined.

Right tackle Bryan Bulaga came off the injury report and is expected to play after missing Thursday’s practice with a knee injury.


Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert won the Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Week vote for the seventh time this season.

Herbert is two wins away from tying Ben Roethlisberger’s record for most rookie of the week awards in a season. The Steelers’ quarterback won nine times in 2004.




By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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