Source: Turner, A.J. could return to Bolts
Posted on: January 2, 2012 4:29 pm
There seems to be a lot of waffling on the future of San Diego coach Norv Turner, and, according to a source close to the organization, there's good reason. He believes that Turner and general manager A.J. Smith will be retained.
Of course, that's not set in concrete. Nothing is this time of year. But it's the first tangible sign that both will return next season.
Turner has two years left on his contract at $3 million per, and Smith has three years left at $2 million per season. According to the source, he believes that ownership is reluctant to fire each or both, then have to pay them.
But there's more to it than that. Quarterback Philip Rivers is a big fan of Turner and voiced his support Sunday for his embattled head coach. Owner Dean Spanos is reluctant to fire Turner, too, one reason he wants time to sit on the decision.
The public, of course, has made its displeasure with the Chargers known, but this year's team did not have the playmakers and talent people associate with the club. Injuries depleted the offensive line and wide receivers, tight end Antonio Gates played through a painful foot injury and the defense leaked too often.
Plus, there were too many turnovers, with Rivers committing a career-worst 20 interceptions.
Nevertheless, the Chargers won four of their last five starts to finish in a three-way tie for first in the AFC West -- with the club losing the tiebreaker to Denver. That the team fought down the stretch will count for something, but it's the second time in two seasons the Chargers missed the playoffs.
That will go into Spanos' thinking. But so will a business decision. That's one reason he begged off on making an immediate move, saying he needed a couple of days to think about it.