Arrow-right Camera

Culver, Wife Believed Dead In Plane Crash

Chargers running back Rodney Culver and his wife, Karen, were believed to be among the 109 people aboard an airliner that crashed after takeoff Saturday from Miami International Airport.

The passenger manifest of ValuJet Airlines Inc., which operated the Atlanta-bound flight, listed Rodney and Karen Culver of Woodstock, Ga.

Chargers spokesman Bill Johnston said he spoke with Culver’s mother in an Atlanta suburb Saturday night, and she said Culver, 26, and his wife were supposed to be aboard the ill-fated DC-9. Rescuers at the scene of the crash in the Florida Everglades said there were no signs of survivors.

The Culvers’ two young daughters were not listed on the manifest.

“We’re hoping like heck there’s some mixup,” general manager Bobby Beathard said Saturday evening. “Anything’s possible. Nothing’s been confirmed.

“They don’t come any better than Rodney. You spend 90 percent of your time dealing with problems, and maybe one percent of your time with guys like Rodney, who never give you any reason to worry about them. You almost take them for granted, then something like this happens. It’s awful. I don’t know what to think.”

The Chargers are still dealing with the death of outside linebacker David Griggs, who was killed in a car crash in a Miami suburb last June 19.

Culver, a two-year starter and four-year letterman at Notre Dame, began last year as the backup to Natrone Means, but missed seven games with a sprained ankle.

He had 155 yards on 47 carries.