Chargers center Mike Pouncey says doctors have cleared him to play following neck surgery – ESPN

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Los Angeles Chargers center Mike Pouncey said Wednesday that doctors have cleared him to play the 2020 season.

Pouncey underwent neck surgery after Week 5 last season and was placed on injured reserve.

“I feel great,” Pouncey said on a Zoom call with reporters. “It’s still a process coming back from neck surgery, so I’m just in the rehab stages. But yes, if you was to ask the doctor that did my surgery, I’ve been cleared to play.”

Pouncey said he has returned to his normal training routine and expects to be to be a “full go” when the team is allowed to return to football activities.

California remains under “safer at home” restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic. Pouncey, who is playing on a one-year, $9 million contract, said he would be open to the Chargers playing elsewhere if the state does not allow for the return of sports.

“Yeah, I think so,” Pouncey said, when asked if he would be OK with moving to play in Nevada or Arizona. “All of us are dealing with change throughout these tough times, and I think this is something that everybody in the world has to adjust to, not just us as football players.

“So we’re all professionals. … If we have to go move to a different state or a different city to be able to get back to work and help feed our families, then I’m sure a lot of guys, most of the guys, would be up for it.”

A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Pouncey is a critical part of a Chargers offensive line that has undergone significant offseason changes. The Bolts traded left tackle Russell Okung to the Carolina Panthers for right guard Trai Turner and signed veteran right tackle Bryan Bulaga to a three-year, $30 million contract.

Pouncey’s return provides a veteran presence as the Chargers begin a new era at quarterback following Philip Rivers‘ departure in free agency after 16 seasons. Rivers signed a one-year, $25 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts.

“I feel like every Philip Rivers fan feels: It sucks to see him play for a different football team,” Pouncey said. “I guess all of us have admired him his whole career, the player that he’s always been, the person that he is, and I wish him nothing but the best. I’m going to miss everything about him.”

Tyrod Taylor, Rivers’ backup last season, is expected to take over as starter. The Chargers also selected Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert with the No. 6 overall pick in the NFL draft last month.

“I really believe in Tyrod. I think he’s a guy that’s proven himself in this league. He’s a baller. Everyone is seeing it, being a part of [the] team last year,” Pouncey said. “And a guy like Justin Herbert, drafting him in the first round, you see the potential that he has. He’s a big kid, big arm, and if you ever watch him throughout his college career, you know that he’s very explosive throwing the football and running the football.”

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