Chargers give Turner extension
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SAN DIEGO -- Like it or not, Chargers fans, coach Norv Turner will be sticking around for four more years.
The Chargers announced Monday night that the oft-maligned coach is getting a three-year contract extension through 2013.
The extension came just more than 24 hours after the Chargers were shocked 17-14 by the New York Jets in the divisional playoffs, renewing calls by some fans for Turner to be fired.
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The team had been expected to extend Turner's contract in the offseason so he wouldn't be a lame duck next fall. That offseason came a lot sooner than most people expected. Some had picked the Chargers to win the Super Bowl, but they melted down in a hail of mistakes and penalties against the Jets.
Team president Dean Spanos told The Associated Press on Monday night that he spoke with Turner for about 45 minutes earlier in the day and got a deal done.
"I think he's done an outstanding job and I look forward to the next four years," Spanos said.
Neither Turner nor general manager A.J. Smith returned calls seeking comment. The team did not plan a news conference, spokesman Bill Johnston said.
Turner seemed to be on his way to erasing the stigma of never being able to get to the big game as a head coach. Although he won two Super Bowl rings as Dallas' offensive coordinator in the early 1990s, his first two head coaching stints, with Washington and Oakland, were forgettable.
Most fans groaned when he was hired to replace the fired Marty Schottenheimer after the 2006 season. He joined the Chargers with a 58-82-1 record overall as an NFL head coach. While Schottenheimer couldn't win in the postseason, Turner couldn't get to the postseason.
That changed in San Diego, although he still hasn't been able to get the talent-laden Bolts to the Super Bowl.
The Chargers have won three straight AFC West titles under Turner, although they are only 3-3 in the playoffs. They reached the AFC title game in his first season before losing at New England. The Bolts have been eliminated in the divisional round the last two seasons.
Turner's regular-season record with San Diego is 32-16, but his overall record is still sub-.500, at 90-98-1.
Turner was credited as being the steadying force as the Chargers rallied from a 2-3 start to win their final 11 games to clinch the AFC's No. 2 playoff seed and a first-round bye.
But anti-Turner sentiment re-emerged after Sunday's shocking loss, in which the Chargers looked tight, played conservatively and at times lost their composure. The Chargers were booed at one point, and some fans began calling for Turner to be replaced.
The Chargers have had slow starts in Turner's three seasons, only to end each season with a winning streak.