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Chargers give McCardell two-year extension

SAN DIEGO (March 9, 2005) -- The San Diego Chargers gave Keenan McCardell the big raise he couldn't get from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

McCardell agreed to a two-year contract extension through the 2007 season. The 35-year-old wide receiver gets a $4.1 million signing bonus.

With the extension, McCardell will average $3.45 million the next three years. He was due to make $2.75 million in 2005, but that was reduced in exchange for more money up front.

McCardell was the NFL's last holdout in 2004, missing the first six games -- and nearly $710,000 in pay -- because he was unhappy the Bucs didn't give him the "fair market" deal he wanted.

He was traded to San Diego on Oct. 19 in exchange for the Chargers' third- and sixth-round choices in April's draft.

McCardell didn't post huge numbers -- he had only one TD catch in seven regular-season games -- but he gave the Chargers the veteran presence they had lacked.

He was obtained three days after Reche Caldwell sustained a season-ending knee injury and played as a backup in his first game. He then made six straight starts before a hamstring injury sidelined him for the last three games. His acquisition coincided with the start of an eight-game winning streak.

McCardell returned for the Chargers' wild-card playoff game against the New York Jets and made a spectacular 26-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. The Chargers lost 20-17 in overtime.

He caught 31 passes for 393 yards and a touchdown in seven regular-season games.

McCardell is a two-time Pro Bowler whose 13-year career totals include 755 catches for 9,763 yards and 53 touchdowns. He has played in 14 career postseason games, with 55 catches for 622 yards and six touchdowns.

He caught two touchdown passes in Tampa Bay's Super Bowl rout of Oakland in January 2003 in San Diego.

McCardell's deal is the latest move by the AFC West champions to lock up key personnel. General manager A.J. Smith signed a three-year contract extension through 2009, and coach Marty Schottenheimer was signed in January to a two-year extension through 2007.

In August, the Chargers signed LaDainian Tomlinson through 2011 and made him the NFL's highest-paid running back.

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