Floyd welcomed ‘back’ by Chargers teammates – AP 8/6/11

SAN DIEGO—After Chargers ended practice Saturday at Qualcomm Stadium, players huddled at midfield and beckoned a teammate from the back.

Malcom Floyd smiled, then advanced to cheers and playful slaps.

“That’s the first time I’ve been called up to break the huddle, so that was cool,” said the receiver, who joined the Chargers in 2004.

Friday morning, Chargers players fretted that the Ravens would sign Floyd, a free agent and San Diego’s top wide receiver in 2010. The afternoon brought word, however, that Floyd was returning on a two-year deal, which Floyd confirmed on Saturday was for less money.

“We set a scale—me and my agent—of what teams had to beat,” Floyd said. “I think I just set those numbers too high, which is good because I’m glad to be here.”

Quarterback Philip Rivers, who had talked with Floyd several times in recent days, said news of Floyd’s return was a “nice surprise.”

“Because of the whole free agent thing,” Rivers said, “it feels like we’re getting him back, but I never felt like we lost him.”

The trip through free agency was a first for the 29-year-old, who led San Diego in yards per catch (19.4) last year. Floyd said it had its “crazy” moments that played on his emotions. The former Wyoming star likened it to college recruiting. Among the suitors was Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, his offensive coordinator from 2004-06.

“Your loyalty is to the team you’ve been on,” Floyd

said. “But once you start talking to different coaches, it’s just a whole new ballgame.”

Floyd had moments, he said, when he thought he would leave the Chargers, who lost one starter from the offense—running back Darren Sproles—to the Saints last month.

“This is my home and I’ve been here for eight years,” Floyd said. “It’s so hard to picture yourself on a different team.”

Floyd caught a few passes Saturday but sat out 11-on-11 plays. He said he has healed from a hamstring injury that cost him five games last year. “This is probably the best I’ve felt,” he said.

Tight end Antonio Gates hasn’t practiced since Thursday, which was his first practice since last season. The seven-time Pro Browl on Friday reported soreness in his right foot, which was plagued by plantar fasciitis last year.

“This is early August,” coach Norv Turner said. “Our goal is to be playing in early February. So, it’s a long, long haul. We’re going to make sure we manage his situation and (that) we have him when we need him.”

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Here is a photo from that interview… Taken By Eric Van Pelt – Photographer

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