Chargers GM bolts to N. Illinois for spring break

Chargers general manager A.J. Smith was among representatives from 14 teams who attended the University of Northern Illinois’ pro day Thursday.

Eight athletes worked out indoors in what was described as a poor surface.

Smith typically attends scouting trips only when he is serious about a player, and all indications point to RB Chad Spann as the reason Smith voyaged to the chilly Midwest from San Diego.

Some scouts have pegged Spann, at just 5-foot-7 3/4 and 201 pounds, as a less-gifted version of Chargers diminutive running back Darren Sproles. Spann turned in a 40-yard dash time of 4.53 seconds, had a 32 1/2-inch vertical leap, 10-foot broad jump, 4.31 short shuttle and 7.04 three-cone drill and completed 18 bench press repetitions at 225 pounds.

Spann also worked out after practice and showed skill catching the football. He wasn’t at last month’s NFL Scouting Combine, but his pro day performance suggests this is a guy who has a chance to catch on with a team as a free agent.

One other prospect of note was defensive back Christopher Smith (5-9 3/4, 186). He clocked 4.67 in the 40, had a 31-inch vertical leap, 9-10 broad jump, 4.26 short shuttle, 7.45 three-cone drill and completed nine reps on the bench. Smith also did position drills, but he didn’t light up any fires.

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