The Donald Brown era in San Diego has come to an end, as the Chargers have released the veteran running back after he appeared in 13 games for the team last season.
According to an official release from the Chargers' website, Brown was released to make room for Michael Ola after the offensive lineman was promoted from the practice squad.
Per Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Brown has a $3 million base salary in the second season of a three-year deal signed in 2014.
Brown had a miserable stint with the Chargers, averaging 2.6 yards per carry during the 2014 season. There was some speculation about whether he would return when last year ended, but general manager Tom Telesco quickly dispelled those rumors in December, stating the 28-year-old would be back.
Fast forward nine months, and Brown hasn't appeared in a game for the Chargers yet this season, while rookie Melvin Gordon has looked good through the first three games with 190 yards.
There's also the matter of San Diego needing to fix its offensive line. Quarterback Philip Rivers has already been sacked 10 times, with Gehlken noting Friday leading up to the Chargers' Week 4 matchup against the Cleveland Browns that four of the five starting linemen were unable to practice:
A line, from left to right, of tackle Chris Hairston, guard Kenny Wiggins, center Trevor Robinson, Fluker and Barksdale may be the look Sunday against the Browns. It would be Hairston's first start at left tackle since 2012, Robinson's ninth career start, and the first ever for Wiggins in the NFL.
The Chargers are currently 1-2, two games behind the Denver Broncos in the AFC West, with the Oakland Raiders playing much better, so big changes are needed to keep Rivers and Gordon afloat while waiting for the regular offensive line to get healthy.
Brown was not serving a purpose for the Chargers any longer. He's never been a feature back in the NFL, though he did average 5.3 yards over 102 carries with the Indianapolis Colts in 2013.
Teams seeking depth at running back that also have a strong offensive line could take a look at Brown, but he's got a steep mountain to climb before earning a prominent role again in the NFL.