Chargers announce 2010 schedule; sign Applewhite to one-year deal

The 2010 NFL schedule has been announced and once again the San Diego Chargers are clearly one of the national television networks’ prime-time players.

The Chargers will be featured in five nationally-televised prime-time contests, beginning with the season opener against the division-rival Chiefs in Kansas City. The Chargers and Chiefs will battle in the second game of the Kickoff Weekend Monday night doubleheader on ESPN. The game kicks off at 7:15 p.m. PT.

The schedule presents many challenges for San Diego, including opening in Kansas City at night in front of its notoriously hostile crowd, the first of four road games in the first six weeks. To finish the season, the Chargers will find themselves on the road for the final two contests, playing back-to-back cold-weather games in Cincinnati and Denver. The game in Cincinnati is another nationally-televised Sunday night game.

Head Coach Norv Turner likes the schedule, and thinks Charger fans will also.

“It’s a tough schedule, no doubt, but it’s also a great schedule for our fans,” said Turner. “We’ll need to come out of the gates strong, playing four of our first six games on the road. But most important, we’ll have to finish strong and be playing our best football when it matters most, in December and January.”

San Diego’s bye weekend comes in Week 10 (Nov. 14). Following the bye, four of the Chargers’ final seven games are on national television. Head Coach Norv Turner’s 13-0 record in December and 4-3 record in January (including playoffs) could have had something to do with that.

Following the season opener in Kansas City, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be the Chargers’ opponent for their home opener on Sunday, Sept. 19. San Diego’s ticket holders will then see the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4 (Oct. 3), then back-to-back battles in Weeks 7-8 against New England (Oct. 24) and Tennessee (Oct. 31; Halloween).

The Chargers have back-to-back nationally-televised games following their bye, beginning with a Week 11 game versus the Denver Broncos on Monday night, Nov. 22. Then in Week 12 they travel to Indianapolis for a big NBC Sunday night contest on Nov. 28. Three consecutive home games Weeks 13-15 versus Oakland (Dec. 5), Kansas City (Dec. 12) and a Thursday night NFL Network game against San Francisco (Dec. 16) finish the regular-season home schedule before San Diego plays its final two games on the road.

Team officials also announced Tuesday that linebacker Antwan Applewhite signed a one-year contract today. As an exclusive rights free agent, Applewhite will earn $470,000 for the 2010 season.

Applewhite played in just one game in 2009, injuring his hamstring early in the season-opener at Oakland. He was deactivated for the next four games and placed on “Reserve-Injured” Oct. 20.

Applewhite’s signing leaves the Chargers with five unsigned restricted free agents. They include WR Vincent Jackson, WR Malcom Floyd, T Marcus McNeill, LB Shawne Merriman and DE Travis Johnson. Even though Merriman and Johnson have not signed, both are participating in the team’s offseason strength and conditioning program.

— Source: San Diego Chargers