Chargers dismiss coach Norv Turner, GM A.J. Smith

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Chargers fired coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith on Monday after missing the playoffs for the third straight season.

Coming after a season of stunning come-from-ahead losses and increasing fan anger, the firings complete a startling fall for a team that won the AFC West from 2006-09.

The Chargers are the third team to fire Turner, who has an overall head coaching record of 114-122-1.

Turner was an unpopular hire in February 2007, seen as a pawn controlled by the authoritarian Smith after the GM won a power struggle with old-school coach Marty Schottenheimer.

Despite having what was perceived as one of the NFL’s most-talented rosters for several seasons, Smith and Turner never got the Chargers to the Super Bowl.

“Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom-line is winning,” team President Dean Spanos said in a statement. “My only goal is the Super Bowl, and that is why I have decided to move in a new direction with both our head coach and general manager positions. I am committed to our great fans, and we will do whatever we possibly can to achieve that goal.”

The Chargers also announced that former Green Bay Packers GM Ron Wolf has been hired as a consultant to help the find a new general manager and coach.

Spanos and Wolf will be joined by Spanos‘ son, John, the director of college scouting, and Ed McGuire, the team’s lead contract negotiator, in conducting interviews. The new general manager will assist in interviews for the new coach, the team said.

Smith’s glaring roster deficiencies, especially on the offensive line in front of $94 million man Philip Rivers, helped contribute to San Diego’s 7-9 record, its first losing season since 2003.

Rivers was under siege most of the season. Having to scramble for his well-being helped contribute to 22 turnovers — giving him 47 in two seasons — and he was sacked 49 times.

After a 3-1 start, the Chargers had a series of collapses.

They blew a 10-point third-quarter lead to lose at New Orleans on Oct. 7.

The Bolts’ Monday night face-plant against Denver on Oct. 15 was epic. They blew a 24-0 halftime lead as Peyton Manning calmly led the Broncos to a 35-24 victory.

On Nov. 25, the Chargers allowed Baltimore’s Ray Rice to convert on a dump-down pass on fourth-and-29. The Ravens forced overtime and won.

Chargers President Dean Spanos also had to consider business factors. Four blackouts, including three straight, meant the Chargers were losing millions of dollars in potential revenue.

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