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Old 12-06-2012, 03:05 PM   Topic Starter
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Chargers will fire Norv Turner and A.J. Smith at the end of the season.

Pro Football Weekly ‏@ProFootballWkly

Per @UTKevinAcee, the #Chargers will fire Norv Turner and A.J. Smith at the end of the season.



It will be finished.

Not only will head coach Norv Turner be gone at the end of the season, but general manager A.J. Smith will be fired as well, as the Chargers make a monumental break from an era that was arguably the most successful and most disappointing in team history.

Sources said this week that Chargers President Dean Spanos essentially decided at least a month ago that Turner’s time was drawing to a rapid close. Spanos, sources said, has more recently resigned himself to the fact that Smith can’t be kept in the current environment of plummeting performance and fan unrest.

And unlike last year, when Spanos found enough reason for clemency in a strong finish and past accomplishments, those with knowledge of plans that are already in motion said it seems certain there will be no last-minute change of heart this time.

Spanos is waiting until after the season, more because that is his preferred time to make such moves than due to any faith in the Chargers’ microscopic playoff chances.

It is not known who will take over for Turner, but current Director of Player Personnel Jimmy Raye is the apparent replacement for Smith. Raye, who has been with the Chargers for 17 seasons, will ascend to a job much like Smith’s but with his new right-hand man being the owner’s son, John Spanos.

The younger Spanos, currently the team’s Director of College Scouting, has long been in line to take over the Chargers’ football operations, but the plan was for that to not happen until the expiration of Smith’s contract after the 2014 season.

People familiar with the discussions say Raye has occasionally dissented in personnel matters over the years. Perhaps most notably, Raye fought to draft inside linebacker David Harris over Buster Davis in 2007. Davis, drafted 30th by the Chargers, was limited by injury to two starts and is now out of the league. Harris was taken by the New York Jets with the 47th overall selection, and has started 80 games. He was an All-Pro in 2009.

That is merely one instance, but there are myriad examples of Smith’s golden touch in the draft having all but vanished, as his top picks in 2009 and ’10 have been largely disappointing.

The Chargers will owe Smith $4 million for his remaining two years and Turner $3 million for the final year of his contract.

Smith joined the Chargers as Assistant General Manager in 2002, joining longtime friend and mentor John Butler. Spanos tabbed Smith as Butler’s successor following Butler’s death in April 2003.

The Chargers went 4-12 in 2003, but Smith dramatically remade the roster prior to the 2004 season, and the Chargers won the AFC West with a 12-4 record that year.

They would go to the postseason four straight years, from 2006 to 2009, winning 14 games in 2006 and 13 in 2009. Their 67 regular season victories from 2004 to 2009 were fifth-most in the NFL.

However, the Chargers made it to the AFC Championship just once, in 2007, and this will mark the third straight season they have not been to the playoffs.
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