Max Tuerk

Former Chargers OL Max Tuerk Dead At 26

Former NFL offensive lineman Max Tuerk died on Sunday at the age of 26, per an announcement from USC’s athletics department. Tuerk, a third-round draft pick of the Chargers in 2016, was 26 years old. The cause of death was not disclosed. 

Tuerk made his name at USC, where he lined up at guard, tackle, and center and totaled 38 starts. Heading into his senior year, Tuerk looked the part of an early draft pick, but a knee injury capped his senior season at just five games. In the draft, the Chargers saw Tuerk as a potential steal, a versatile blocker who could bolster every part of the front five.

Unfortunately, suspensions and injuries plagued Tuerk’s pro career. The Chargers stashed him on the taxi squad in 2017, until he was plucked by Arizona. He played in just one game for the Cardinals before he was released outright in the offseason.

We here at PFR would like to express our condolences to Tuerk’s family and friends.

Cardinals Cut Center Max Tuerk

Max Tuerk‘s time in Arizona has come to an end. On Thursday, the Cardinals announced that the offensive lineman has been released from his contract. 

Tuerk, a third round pick of the Chargers in 2016, signed with the Cardinals in November. He played in just one game, a 23-0 romp over the Giants in December.

In 2016, injuries kept Tuerk off of the field. Last season, he missed the first four games of the year after violating the league’s PED policy The Chargers waived him before he was eligible to return and later stashed him on the practice squad. Curious about his potential and in need of offensive line depth, the Cardinals swooped in.

Tuerk was a standout at USC where he played guard, tackle, and center. His versatility should allow him to find another opportunity, but his injury and suspension history may hurt his market.

Cardinals Sign C Max Tuerk

The Cardinals have signed center Max Tuerk off the Chargers’ practice squad. To make room, the team has placed center/guard Daniel Munyer on injured reserve. Max Tuerk (vertical)

Tuerk, a third round pick of the Bolts in 2016, has yet to play in an NFL game. Last year, injuries kept him off the field. This year, he was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s PED policy and was waived before he was eligible to return. The Chargers stashed him on the practice squad afterwards, but it’s no surprise that another team has swooped in on him.

Tuerk will help to provide depth on the interior line in advance of Thursday night’s game against the Seahawks. With the ability to play both guard and center, he could see potentially see some snaps in relief of Alex Boone, A.Q. Shipley, and Earl Watford – provided that he is on the active roster.

Redskins Work Out Orlando Franklin, Others

Orlando Franklin continues to search for another NFL landing spot after his Saints stay ended up being brief. The free agent offensive lineman took a trip to the nation’s capital for a Redskins workout, Howard Balzer of SportsOnEarth tweets.

Franklin’s been on the market since the Saints cut him after less than a week over the summer. This came months after the Chargers released him two seasons into a five-year contract. Franklin worked out for the Giants earlier this season.

Washington is dealing with injuries at all three positions up front, and the 29-year-old Franklin boasts experience at both guard and tackle. He was the Broncos’ starting right tackle from 2011-13, moved to guard in 2014 and signed a lucrative Bolts pact leading to a two-year guard stay in San Diego.

Trent Williams is battling a knee injury and putting off surgery, and Morgan Moses did not practice Thursday either after suffering an ankle malady Monday night. Swing tackle Ty Nsekhe remains out after surgery. Starting guard Brandon Scherff hasn’t practiced yet this week. Neither has center Spencer Long.

Washington also auditioned centers Taylor Boggs, Demetrius Rhaney and Max Tuerk. The latter ended up accepting an offer to join the Chargers’ practice squad. The Bolts waived Tuerk earlier this season, and the former USC snapper’s Washington workout came after he fulfilled obligations to be reinstated following a four-game PED suspension, Balzer reports (on Twitter).

Chargers Sign Max Tuerk To Practice Squad

Max Tuerk is back with the Chargers, but not on their main roster. The Bolts have signed him to the practice squad, as Adam Caplan of SiriusXM tweetsMax Tuerk (vertical)

Tuerk was suspended for the first four games of the season after violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances. For one reason or another, he was not immediately reinstated after the ban was up. On Oct. 3, the Chargers waived Tuerk, a 2016 third-round pick.

The USC product entered the league with a good amount of buzz, but he has yet to play in a game thanks to injuries in 2016 and this year’s suspension/release. It is perhaps telling that the league’s 31 other teams declined to claim him off of waivers. His decision to sign a taxi squad deal with the Chargers could also be an indication that he did not have any 53-man roster opportunities elsewhere, even at the minimum salary level.

If things go well, Tuerk could conceivably earn an in-season promotion. With the ability to play both guard/center, he could be a valuable sub for the Chargers on the interior line.

Chargers’ Tuerk Not Yet Reinstated

Several players are slated to return to action this week after starting the year with four-game bans, but that won’t be the case for center Max Tuerk. The Chargers lineman has not yet been reinstated because he has yet to complete his obligations as outlined by the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs, Howard Balzer of tweetsMax Tuerk (vertical)

Tuerk was hit with the suspension late in training camp. At the time, he blamed a tainted supplement for the positive test.

This offseason, I made the mistake of taking over-the-counter supplements,” Tuerk said in a statement. “In doing so, I opened myself up to the possibility of consuming a tainted supplement – something that ultimately led to a positive test for a banned substance. I accept responsibility for my actions and understand the NFL’s policy is very clear on this matter. This is a very hard way to learn a lesson, and I will never make this mistake again.”

Tuerk, a product of nearby USC, missed his entire rookie season due to injury. It’s not clear when he’ll finally make his NFL debut.

The Bolts lost to the Eagles 26-24 on Sunday, bringing them down to 0-4. Next up is a road contest against the winless Giants in which someone’s 0 has to go.

Chargers Reach 53-Man Limit

The Chargers announced 37 player moves on Saturday, bringing them down to the 53-man limit. Here’s the full breakdown.






Barner seemed to have a decent chance of cracking the roster as a pass-catching back, particularly after the loss of Danny Woodhead. On 27 carries last season, Barner averaged a career-best 4.8 yards per attempt.

Clemens, 33, was slated to return for a fourth season as Philip Rivers‘ backup. Instead, that job will go to Cardale Jones, who was acquired in a trade with Buffalo earlier this offseason.

NFL Suspends Chargers OL Max Tuerk

Chargers guard/center Max Tuerk has been suspended four games by the league office. Tuerk violated the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances, according to the press release. For his part, Tuerk denies any real wrongdoing. Max Tuerk (vertical)

This offseason, I made the mistake of taking over-the-counter supplements,” Tuerk said in a statement. “In doing so, I opened myself up to the possibility of consuming a tainted supplement – something that ultimately led to a positive test for a banned substance. I accept responsibility for my actions and understand the NFL’s policy is very clear on this matter. This is a very hard way to learn a lesson, and I will never make this mistake again.”

Tuerk will be eligible to return to the Chargers’ active roster on Monday, October 2 following the team’s October 1 game against the Eagles. This is far from ideal for L.A., but it’s not necessarily devastating since Tuerk was likely in line for a reserve role. The Chargers project to start Russell Okung, Matt Slauson, Spencer Pulley, Kenny Wiggins, and Joe Barksdale on the offensive line. Tuerk had been listed as Slauson’s primary backup at left guard on the Chargers’ early edition of the depth chart.

West Rumors: Pulley, 49ers, Broncos

The Chargers received upper-echelon production from Matt Slauson last season, with the veteran continuing to function well at center despite being a natural guard. Slauson being moved back to guard this offseason opens the door at center, and the Bolts have 2016 third-round pick Max Tuerk seemingly waiting in the wings after essentially redshirting as a rookie. But second-year UDFA Spencer Pulley is throwing off that natural succession plan presently. Pulley is currently the Bolts’ starting center, Eric Williams of notes, while pointing out that it’s still May and Tuerk will have a chance to compete.

I have a great comfort level with Spencer,” Philip Rivers said, via Williams. “That’s what he played in college his whole time there at Vandy. Slauson was great there last year, and Spencer played some there in that Cleveland game and a few other times, so I have a good feel with him. He’s had a heck of an offseason, so he’s in there right now with the first group and we’ll see how it goes.”

Pulley being ahead of Tuerk, who started at USC before catching the Mike McCoy-led Chargers’ eye last April, complicates matters for the former Trojan. Because the Chargers used their most recent third-round pick on Indiana interior lineman Dan Feeney, who joins second-round pick Forrest Lamp in the interior-line mix for Los Angeles. Williams doesn’t mention Feeney as a prime candidate here, so the Bolts could work him in at guard for now. Feeney did take reps at center earlier this offseason. Regardless of how this situation works out, the Chargers will have a remade interior line after relocating Slauson and cutting D.J. Fluker and Orlando Franklin.

Here are some more Western-division notes.

  • Kyle Shanahan plans to divide offense-management responsibilities based on how the ball travels. The new 49ers coach did not hire an offensive coordinator, as he’ll function in that role after serving as an OC for three different teams since 2013, but he assigned two assistants jobs. Mike McDaniel will be in charge of the ground game, and Mike LaFleur will oversee the passing attack, Matt Maiocco of reports. Bobby Turner, who worked with both in Atlanta after many seasons on Mike Shanahan‘s staffs in Denver and Washington, is the team’s running backs coach. So, it looks like he and McDaniel will be working together for a 49ers team that saw Tom Rathman move on after many years of being involved with the team’s rushing attack.
  • Carlos Henderson rated as Broncos wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert‘s No. 5 wide receiver prospect, according to Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post. The Louisiana Tech prospect went to the Broncos in the third round and was the 10th wide receiver off the board. Wolfe expects Henderson to challenge for a return job as well after taking back three kickoffs for scores in his three-year college career. He and fifth-round rookie Isaiah McKenzie (five punt-return TDs from 2014-16) figure to enhance a Denver return game that’s struggled since Trindon Holliday‘s short but explosive run ended after the 2013 season.
  • It is clear to Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post that the Broncos want to give Paxton Lynch every chance to win the starting quarterback job over Trevor Siemian. Lynch is a high-risk, high-reward gunslinger, while Siemian is a no-nonsense game manager, but Kiszla points to the division rival Chiefs to explain why Denver wants Lynch to win the job. Kansas City’s Alex Smith, the definition of a solid, game-manager type quarterback, has been just good enough to get the Chiefs beaten in the playoffs, which prompted the team to jump through hoops to draft the immensely talented but erratic Patrick Mahomes in the first round of this year’s draft.
  • Derek Carr‘s extension talks with the Raiders are expected to ramp up, with the fourth-year passer believed to be in position to sign a deal that is a “strong step aboveAndrew Luck‘s five-year, $122.97MM deal.

Rory Parks contributed to this report.

Impact Rookies: San Diego Chargers

The old adage that defense wins championships may or may not be true, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a title-winning team that didn’t build heavily through the draft. Rookie classes, naturally, are evaluated on the perceived upside of the NFL newcomers, but which rookies are ready to contribute right out of the gate? And, how do they fit in with their new team schematically?

To help us forecast the immediate future of these NFL neophytes, we enlisted the help of draft guru Dave-Te Thomas who has served as a scouting personnel consultant to NFL teams for multiple decades.

Today, we continue PFR’s Impact Rookie series with his insight on the San Diego Chargers’ draft class:

First Round – Joey Bosa, DE (Ohio State, No. 3 overall)

Is San Diego regretting their draft day surprise? Many felt that Jalen Ramsey was a perfect fit for the Bolts as he could have filled the free safety role. Instead, they passed on the best defensive player in the draft to take defensive end Joey Bosa. As camp approaches, Bosa and the front office are at an impasse over his contract. Joey Bosa

Bosa is scheduled to start at left defensive end, where the Chargers let former second round pick, Kendall Reyes, also leave the complex to join Weddle in Baltimore. After a promising rookie year that saw Reyes tally 5.5 sacks, nine stops for loss and nineteen QB pressures, Reyes failed to impress during his three years as a starter, making two sacks and 32 hits through fifteen assignments with the first unit last year.

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Bosa was suspended for the 2015 season opener and was slow to get back into his usual “bull in a china shop” self in 2015. Coming off a 12-sack, 21.0-tackle-for-loss 2014 national championship campaign, Bosa saw his numbers dip to five sacks in 2015. He did post sixteen stops behind the line of scrimmage, tying for 15th on the school season-record list, adding fourteen QB pressures. Eight of his tackles in the backfield came on third-down snaps and the opponents were held to a rushing average of 0.43 yards on plays directed at him. He would close out his career third in OSU annals with 26 sacks and fourth with 50.5 tackles-for-loss.

Bosa’s outstanding instincts shined throughout his career. He displays improvement in the strength department, as his body has begun to mature to NFL level. The first thing you notice on film is that he plays with a high motor and has excellent initial quickness to surprise the lethargic offensive lineman. He shows above average balance working down the line and in pursuit. He gains advantage with his sudden moves and change of direction agility, doing a nice job of using his hands and arm extension to avoid low blocks and maintain balance on the move. He is a quick twitch type of player with the natural movement skills to pursue from the backside, shooting the inside gaps, evident by his pass defense performance that flattened Christian Hackenberg on a fourth-and-5 play to secure a victory over Penn State in 2014. He shows good body control working down the line to take an inside gap as a bull rusher. He runs with a long stride, building acceleration nicely. He flashes initial quickness along with sudden explosiveness off the line to surprise a lethargic blocker, and on the move, he is not as quick to redirect.

While Bosa only sealed the deal with five sacks in 2015, he did record fourteen QB chase-downs, including eight on third-down snaps and two on fourth-down plays. While he was effective as a pass rusher in 2014, he really has yet to develop an array of pass rush moves, relying more on his length and raw power to beat blocks on his path to the quarterback. He is known more for that power, but as he matures, he needs to be more efficient with his swim- and rip-move techniques. In any event, he can be an impact player for the Chargers in 2016 – once he gets his contract sorted out.

Read more about the Chargers’ rookie class..

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