Saying, "I love you guys, but I've got to go," all-pro wide receiver John Jefferson said goodbye to the San Diego Chargers yesterday after the team traded him to Green Bay.
The announcement by Eugene Klein, the Chargers' owner, came an hour after Jefferson and his lawyer said at a news conference that their months-long salary dispute could not be resolved. Klein said the trade was contingent on Jefferson reporting to the Packers and passing a physical.
"I'm not very happy to announce this," Klein said at a hastily called press conference. He praised Jefferson's ability but said he would refuse to change club policy against renegotiating contracts.
Klein said the decision to trade Jefferson was made "when he went on national television" about a week ago and said he believed he should go to another team.
Jefferson contended his salary in a series of one-year contracts left him with less than $100,000 annually -- less than at least three other NFL wide receivers.
Jefferson refused to report for preseason practice and missed San Diego's two regular-season games, both of which the Chargers won.
The Packers said they acquired Jefferson "for future undisclosed draft choices and other considerations to be determined at a later date."