San Diego Chargers hold 'Thank You San Diego Day'

Players visit locations around city, county

SAN DIEGO - Charger players, cheerleaders and members of the team spread out across San Diego County Monday to thank fans for their support as part of the team's "Thank you San Diego Day."

Players, grouped by the positions they play, were dispatched to various parts of town, including downtown, the San Diego Zoo, Belmont Park, the big lemon sculpture in Lemon Grove and Legoland in Carlsbad, among other venues, where shook hands with fans, posing for photographs and handing out game tickets.

"It's great to get involved with the all fans and get to meet everybody and get the players out there and thank the fans for all they do for us," Mike McCoy, the new head coach, told a local news outlet.

Quarterback Philip Rivers told the media that he posed for photos with a Washington Redskins fan and someone wearing a Denver Broncos hat. The surprise nature of the visits seemed to increase the "wow factor," he said.

Tight end Antonio Gates, who was among the group that visited the zoo, told 10News, "Obviously, that's the idea; come out here to say thank you. We're trying hard, working, hard, trying to bring a championship here to San Diego."

One fan at the zoo screamed at news cameras, "Alright! My name's Andrew and that was very cool. I'm so excited to be down here to meet the Chargers today!"

Rivers added, "Oh, it's great! Offseason, it's certainly a rarity. You mix with the fans, sometimes, certainly not in uniform. It's cool, it's fun."

The team retweeted reactions from fans who met players.

"Got to meet these guys at the Lemon Grove Bakery! So awesome! #ThankYouSD @chargers fans," wrote Angelica Pascual on her account.

Brian Hernandez tweeted, "Rode the trolley with some cool @chargers players and got a picture with Danny Woodhead #ThankYouSD."

"This is just our chance to say 'thank you' to the San Diego community," team executive vice president and CEO A.G. Spanos told a local TV station. "The Chargers cannot exist without our fans, watching us in the games at our stadium, watching us on TV."

The Chargers are rebuilding after missing the playoffs the past three seasons. Besides hiring McCoy, they also brought in General Manager Tom Telesco and overhauled the roster -- with Woodhead being one of several new players.

Four games were blacked out last year, as too few tickets were sold. This week marks the start of sales for this season.

Chargers Public Relations Director Bill Johnston said, "There's some real hot games, obviously. People really want to go see the Cowboys, Giants, Raiders and Broncos, but those packages are what's selling now; little buzz going on right now."

Four other games -- versus the Texans, Colts, Bengals and Chiefs -- aren't hot tickets, yet.

Rivers said, "You [have to] win."