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Chargers Haded For Another QB Cange

November 7, 2000

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Still smarting from their latest self-inflicted loss, the winless San Diego Chargers are preparing for their fourth quarterback change of the season.

Coach Mike Riley said Monday that Jim Harbaugh has a mild hernia as well as a strained stomach muscle that forced him out of Sunday’s 17-15 loss at Seattle, so he’ll likely start Moses Moreno when the Chargers (0-9) play host to the Miami Dolphins (7-2) on Sunday.

And as he’s done several times earlier this season, Riley said he’ll wait until midweek to make it official.

``It appears very clear-cut right now, but I do want to talk to all these parties involved first,″ Riley said.

Riley said Harbaugh’s options include having surgery for the hernia, which could keep him out for 2-3 weeks, or playing with pain. Harbaugh later quashed the surgery option, at least until the end of the season.

He planned to see a specialist to find out which of the two injuries is limiting him the most, but seemed to think that three days of rest will help.

``We’ll know more on Thursday,″ Harbaugh said.

Riley, though, expects Harbaugh to have his practice time limited by the injuries, meaning Moreno will be in line for his second start of the season.

``It’s been a complete carousel at the quarterback situation,″ Moreno said.

Ryan Leaf started the first two games but was ineffective, so Moreno started the third game and promptly injured his shoulder. Leaf started the fourth game and sprained his wrist, and Harbaugh has started ever since.

Moreno hasn’t played since a disastrous outing at Buffalo on Oct. 15. Riley made the controversial decision before the game to start Harbaugh and then replace him with Moreno opening the second quarter, regardless of how Harbaugh was doing.

Moreno fumbled his first and third snaps, leading to two Buffalo touchdowns. Harbaugh came back in and led the Chargers to a 10-point lead, which they blew before losing in overtime.

Moreno said both his shoulder and his psyche are better.

Getting another chance ``means a lot,″ he said. ``I’d like to go in and contribute as any of us would like to do.″

The problem is, mistakes by the quarterbacks have killed the Chargers. The defense is hardly innocent, though, as San Diego has blown fourth-quarter leads five times.

Although the Chargers dominated the Seahawks on the stat sheet, Harbaugh fumbled two snaps that lead to two Seattle touchdowns. He also threw an interception, giving the Chargers an NFL-high 16.

Harbaugh did throw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Curtis Conway late in the third quarter to pull the Chargers to 14-12, but he botched the two-point conversion and then made way for Moreno in the fourth quarter.

Moreno led a drive capped by John Carney’s go-ahead field goal with 5:40 left. But, for the third straight game, the Chargers failed to hold a lead and lost on a late field goal, this one by rookie Rian Lindell as time expired.

``We fumbled and gave them two touchdowns. They did not do anything else, really, in the game,″ Riley said of the Seahawks.

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