SAN DIEGO (AP) -Jeremy Newberry's tour of California NFL teams is complete.
The offensive lineman joined the San Diego Chargers for an offseason workout on Tuesday, a day after signing a one-year contract.
``I wanted to be down here. I've already played for the two other California teams,'' said Newberry, a two-time Pro Bowl center while with San Francisco who played last year with the AFC West rival Oakland Raiders. ``Obviously, the Chargers are the best team out there. I wanted to stay halfway close to home and have a chance to win a championship and this fit both of the bills for me.''
Newberry was signed as insurance in case center Nick Hardwick isn't ready for the start of the season. Hardwick had surgery on his sprained right foot on March 14. The team said at the time that he would need four to six months to recover.
``If Nick's healthy, I'll just help these guys as much as I can and in whatever way I can,'' said Newberry, who's mostly played center but also some at guard and tackle. ``I think I have a lot of experience and I'm sure I can help them with some stuff and help the guards also and just be a positive influence. If something happens, I'll be ready to play.''
Coach Norv Turner said the Chargers, who made it to the AFC championship game before losing at New England, probably wouldn't have made the move if Hardwick was healthy.
``But he isn't 100 percent. Again, we expect Nick to be healthy and we expect Nick to be ready to go. Things happen in this game and Jeremy is a guy that fits our needs at this time,'' Turner said.
Newberry started 14 games for the rival Oakland Raiders last year. He was taken by San Francisco in the second round of the 1998 draft and went to the Pro Bowl after the 2001 and 2002 seasons.
Newberry has had a total of seven knee surgeries.
He missed two games last year while with Oakland, due to a pulled hamstring. ``My knees were fine all year,'' he said.
``It's going to be a management deal here, too,'' he said. ``I have to manage how many reps I do and how much work I do to get through it. I can't go out and practice every single practice and every rep of training camp. I have to be smart.''
Newberry said he probably could have gone elsewhere and played more, but wanted to stay near his family.
``I'm not playing financially anymore. I want to win a championship. I want a good situation and that's why this is a perfect fit for me.''
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