San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during Tuesday's OTA practice, the team announced on Tuesday night.
Tuesday was the second day of OTA practices for the Chargers, who began their offseason program on April 1. The Chargers are in "Phase Three" of the program, during which no live contact is permitted.
Ingram, the No. 18 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, started two of 16 games as a rookie, totaling 41 tackles, including one sack, with five passes defensed. A good portion of Ingram's contributions as a rookie came on special teams where he was tied for the team lead with 12 tackles, including a team-high 11 solo stops.
According to official NFL playing-time documents, Ingram logged just 43.61 percent of the Chargers' defensive snaps. Ingram's one quarterback sack in 2012 was comprised of two shared sacks. The first half-sack came in a 7-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 28 and the second came in a 27-17 win over the New York Jets on Dec. 23. With the Chargers letting veteran outside linebacker Shaun Phillips walk away in free agency, Ingram was expected to secure a starting job in 2013.
Ingram posted 21.5 sacks during his 50-game college career at South Carolina and his ability to get to opposing quarterbacks was behind his selection with the 18th overall pick in last year's draft. Ingram's four-year, $8.263 million contract included $7.522 million in guaranteed money, including the $2.7 million in base salaries Ingram is scheduled to earn over the next three seasons.
With Ingram likely to miss the entire 2013 season, the Chargers may be in the market for a free agent pass-rusher. That could put them in the mix for free agent Dwight Freeney, a former Indianapolis Colt who is best-suited to play defensive end, but had five sacks as an outside linebacker last season in Chuck Pagano's defense. The Chargers' defensive coordinator is John Pagano, Chuck's younger brother. Another connection to Freeney is GM Tom Telesco, who spent 15 seasons in the Colts' scouting and personnel departments before getting the Chargers' job in January. In-house options to replace Ingram are Larry English, an underachieving first-round pick from 2009, and 2013 sixth-round pick Tourek Williams, who had 18 sacks in 49 games at Florida International University.