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Chargers claim RB Marcus Mason from Redskins

The Chargers added depth to their offensive backfield on Monday, claiming running back Marcus Mason off waivers from the Washington Redskins.

The 5-9, 215-pound former All-America running back from Youngstown State spent the better part of his first two NFL seasons on the practice squads of the Redskins and Baltimore Ravens before getting an opportunity to play last season for the Redskins. In nine games in ’09, Mason averaged just under 4.0 yards per carry, toting the ball 32 times for 127 yards. He will attempt to earn a roster spot on a team in San Diego that averaged just 3.3 yards per carry last season.

“We’ve followed his progress through his young career,” said General Manager A.J. Smith, “and when he came available, we decided to give him an opportunity to earn a spot with the Chargers.”

The 25-year-old Mason played two collegiate seasons at YSU after transferring from the University of Illinois. He averaged an impressive 5.7 yards per carry in two seasons for the Penguins, racking up 2,739 yards and 31 touchdowns on 478 carries. He set a school record with 1,847 yards as a senior, en route to being named Offensive Player of the Year for the Gateway Conference.

The Redskins signed Mason as a free agent in 2007. He spent one week on their active roster, though he did not appear in a game, and the rest of the season on Washington’s practice squad. In 2008, Washington released Mason following training camp and the preseason in which he led the NFL in rushing with 371 yards on 66 carries, a 4.8-yard average. That year Mason would spend eight weeks on Baltimore’s practice squad and six more weeks on the New York Jets’ active roster, but he did not appear in any games for the Jets. The Redskins re-acquired Mason off waivers from the Jets in April, 2009.