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Tag:Dean Spanos
Posted on: March 1, 2012 9:21 am
 

Kris Dielman set to officially retire Thursday

Dielman's family and quality of life were two reasons he has decided to retire. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

We told you the other day that Chargers guard Kris Dielman was close to announcing his retirement. For Dielman -- one of the NFL’s better guards who had suffered a grand mal seizure on an airplane last season after sustaining a concussion vs. the Jets on Oct. 23 -- that day will come to fruition Thursday.

The Chargers proclaimed it so on Wednesday night, announcing that Dielman would hold a news conference to officially announce his retirement.

“I love this game. I’ve given it everything I have,” Dielman said in a statement released by the team. “It’s time for me to focus on my future and my quality of life. I want to thank the Spanos family and the Chargers for giving me the opportunity in the NFL. Because they believed in me, I was able to realize a dream and for that I will be forever grateful.”

Dielman’s retirement was somewhat of a surprise to the team, which believed he would return in 2012. But following his concussion and seizure, which landed him on the IR list, and after listening to doctors talk about his quality of life in the future, Dielman, who supposedly still wanted to continue his career, decided it would be best to leave the game.

“Kris played the game the way it’s supposed to be played: with heart and passion,” Chargers president Dean Spanos said. “He’s a throwback … an old-school player. All he cares about is his family and playing football and today he’s making family his top priority, as it should be, and I respect him tremendously for that.”

Dielman was an undrafted free agent in 2003, and he originally showed up in San Diego expecting to play defensive tackle (he was a tackle and a tight end at Indiana), but Chargers coaches convinced him to give offensive line a try.

After working as the backup left guard for two seasons, he became a starter in the third game of 2005. He started 97 of the next 100 games (he missed the three because of injury), and he was good enough to earn four-straight Pro Bowl honors and to be named as a member of the 50th anniversary Chargers all-time team.

“It has been an honor to play next to Kris for so many years,” center Nick Hardwick said. “His loyalty and toughness gave me and the guys who played with him a sense of security, knowing that we had the baddest guy on the field. And we knew nobody wanted to find out how bad a dude he was.

“He taught us about loyalty, will power and friendship. I will certainly miss being in the huddle standing next to my best friend and personal protector.”

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Posted on: January 9, 2012 12:54 pm
 

Chargers won't bolt on stadium lease in 2012

By Will Brinson

The Chargers have an awkward termination clause in their stadium lease: for three months each year, they have an option to terminate the lease in full, owing $20-some million in bonds depending on what year they decide to terminate the lease. Last year, they announced in December that they wouldn't exercise the option.

This year, they waited until January, but the Chargers and the City of San Diego announced on Monday that football in San Diego is safe for 2012 as well.

"The City of San Diego and the Chargers continue to work closely together to explore publicly acceptable ways to build a Super Bowl-quality stadium on the bus maintenance yard site in the East Village of downtown San Diego," San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and Chargers Owner Dean Spanos said in a joint statement. "To give this ongoing process every chance to succeed, the Chargers have announced that the team will not trigger the lease’s termination clause in 2012.

"Both the Mayor’s Office and the Chargers look forward to continuing their joint efforts to build a multi-use stadium that will benefit the entire region."

The Chargers lease doesn't actually expire until 2020, but the three-month window, which occurs between February and April, offers the Chargers a chance to ... bolt. They won't be doing that this year, despite increased speculation that the Chargers would be a perfect fit for football in Los Angeles.

"It’s nothing new," Chargers general counsel Mark Fabiani said. "We made it clear to AEG long ago that we’re not interested in their site. We’ve had a contentious relationship with them since we said we didn’t believe they could get it done, and it certainly appears there’s no chance they can get any construction started in 2012."

And there's the catch: there's no stadium in Los Angeles. There's not even ground broken on a stadium in Los Angeles. Even if the Chargers wanted to move, they couldn't be assured that there would be a new stadium ready for them and thus it makes little sense to move. Hence why they're already locked in to keeping the lease intact, before the expiration window even opens.

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Posted on: January 3, 2012 2:40 pm
 

Chargers keeping Norv Turner, AJ Smith

Dean Spanos is bringing back Norv and Smith for one more run in San Diego. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Norv Turner will return to San Diego as the Chargers head coach in 2012, and A.J. Smith will continue to be the general manager, the team said in a statement released Tuesday.

“Bottom line, I believe these two men give us the best chance to get back to the playoffs,” president Dean Spanos said. “A.J. Smith is the best man to improve our roster, and Norv Turner is the best man to lead that roster on the field.

“Together, we have stability and experience that’s hard to find in the NFL. They’ve both been in this league a long time. I don’t think there is anything they haven’t seen or experienced. They’ve led us through some difficult situations.

“As we’ve seen throughout Norv’s tenure and particularly this past season, the players believe in him, respect him and play hard for him. When we went through that tough stretch, no one quit. The team kept playing hard, and that’s a tribute to Norv’s leadership and the respect the players have for him.

“Now we will take a hard look at everything, from player evaluation to coaching to the rash of injuries we’ve suffered in recent years. Injuries have killed us. And no one is ever perfect in this business. Player evaluation isn’t an exact science. We need to improve across the board and I’m going to make sure we do."

On Monday, CBSSports.com's Clark Judge wrote that Turner and Smith could return to the Chargers, even though the speculation in recent weeks was that both were in serious danger of losing their jobs.

In six seasons with the Chargers, Turner was 52-34. Impressive, except that the team has missed the playoffs the last two years and has struggled to play consistently for most of his tenure.

San Diego started the '07 season (Turner's first) at 1-4, finished 11-5, and lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. A year later, they lost their final four regular-season games, made it to the postseason with an 8-8 record, before losing in the divisional round. In 2009, San Diego was 2-3 before wining 10 in a row … and losing in the first round to the Jets. The Chargers begun '10 at 2-5 and eventually missed the playoffs. And after a 4-1 start in '11, they lost six in a row. San Diego still had a chance at the postseason but a Week 16 blowout at the hands of the Lions sealed their fate.

Still, as Judge pointed out, "Quarterback Philip Rivers is a big fan of Turner and voiced his support Sunday for his embattled head coach." And despite fan and media sentiment, San Diego rallied to win three of four and finish in a tie atop the AFC West at 8-8 (the Broncos won the tiebreaker).

Judge adds: "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." But he also notes that the news "doesn't mean Turner is in the clear. On the contrary ... Spanos won't tolerate another 8-8 season, so Turner has been put on alert." 

On Tuesday, Spanos sounded like he was confident in his decision.

“We all have our quirks and faults, but I want A.J. and Norv on my side. They are the right men to help us win a championship. … Despite the number of wins we’ve had, the net bottom line is it doesn’t mean anything unless you win a championship. That’s our goal and I am committed to winning a Super Bowl for San Diego.”

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Posted on: January 3, 2012 2:38 pm
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Posted on: January 2, 2012 9:28 am
Edited on: January 2, 2012 10:04 am
 

Spanos taking 'a couple days' on Turner, Smith

The decision on Norv won't be made for 'a couple days.' (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

It wouldn't be surprising if Norv Turner were booted as coach of the Chargers on Black Monday (coming in a few hours to a box office near you!), but it's looking unlikely that he'll lose his job immediately.
Week 17 Recap

San Diego President Dean Spanos, who reportedly expressed support for the Bolts during their late surge, said he'd take "a couple days" to decide the fate of Turner and general manager A.J. Smith.

"I’m going to sleep on this for a couple days," Spanos said, per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. "There are a lot of things I want to think about. I’m looking at the entire organization."

Norv was a little less optimistic sounding when asked about returning in 2012, according to our Chargers Rapid Reporter Dan McLellan.

"I don’t need to answer that because there’s going to be a decision made, and we’ll all know what it is, and what my opinion right now is probably doesn’t have a lot of effect," Turner said. "I’ll leave it at that."

Turner, for all the criticism he receives, has the support of his team.

“I really believe in him,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “I can’t speak for every guy, but the guys that have been here and know what this league’s about, they all believe in him, too, and they all want him here. We all want him here."

Rivers reference to "we" probably includes Spanos as well; there's no doubt he believes the team has the talent to succeed and feels like the Chargers are close to contending.


The problem is simply that Norv can't get San Diego to turn the corner. He's obviously an offensive genius and his players clearly love him and a lot of times, Turner's teams look like potential world champs.

But with the continual disappointment of this Bolts regime it's going to be hard for Spanos to justify rolling with the status quo into 2012.

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Posted on: December 25, 2011 3:41 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 5:27 pm
 

Did Bill Cowher already interview for the SD job?

Turner

By Josh Katzowitz

Now that the Chargers have been knocked out of the playoff picture officially after the Lions dominated them on Saturday, we can almost surely expect to see the front office fire coach Norv Turner.

That’s especially true after a report surfaced last week that said that in order for Turner and San Diego general manager A.J. Smith to save their jobs, the Chargers needed to win the final two games of the season.

Week 16 recap
That obviously didn’t happen, so now, the discussion has turned to who could replace Turner. And while our CBS colleague Bill Cowher continues to say he’s not interested in leaving the world of TV (even Dan Marino, in answering a question about the open Dolphins job, said he didn’t think Cowher’s mindset was in returning to coaching), the New York Post has reported that Cowher already interviewed in San Diego.

“I was told this week by an in-the-know source with intimate knowledge of the San Diego sports scene that Cowher already had ‘an interview’ with high-ranking people inside the Chargers organization who were gauging his interest and that he expressed his interest in the job should Norv Turner be fired,” wrote Mark Cannizzaro in the Post.

That report, though, is at odds with what the San Diego Union Tribune is writing. Reported Kevin Acee: “Two Chargers sources said unequivocally and vehemently on Saturday that the Chargers have not talked to Cowher.”

Making matters more complicated was the fact that former Titans coach Jeff Fisher, who figures to be a popular coaching choice this offseason (including, perhaps, with the Chargers), was in Detroit and talking with Turner before the game (Fisher’s son is a defensive assistant for the Lions).

Owner Dean Spanos told the Union-Trib that he’d wait until next week to make a decision on Turner.

Look, chances are Cowher won’t be the one to replace him, because it’s unlikely Cowher will return to the game this season (if ever).

Yet, even though Cowher recently told Sports Illustrated this, “People don't understand. I'm not coaching. I'm enjoying life more right now than I ever have,” his name won’t evaporate from coaching searches anytime soon. Even if he really is intent on not ever returning.




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Posted on: December 23, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: December 23, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Report: Norv, Smith's jobs depend on last 2 weeks

Norv Turner could potentially save his job with a 2-0 finish to 2011. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

At the beginning of December, the idea that Norv Turner could survive into next season as Chargers head coach was borderline laughable. San Diego was 4-7, dead in the water for the playoffs and Turner was as good as gone. Over the last three weeks, though, things have changed -- and it appears Norv can save his gig.

In fact, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the jobs of Turner and GM A.J. Smith "hinge on results in the final two weeks."

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Put simply, it sounds like the Chargers winning out -- they play at Detroit on Christmas Eve and then at Oakland on New Year's Day -- will save the jobs of Turner and Smith.

After the Chargers victory over the Ravens in Week 14 it appeared as if the tides were starting to turn in Norv's favor; Philip Rivers said "it would be crazy" to dump the coach and Acee reported that just getting to the Raiders game with a shot at the playoffs would "speak volumes" to team president Dean Spanos.


Spanos now believes, according to Acee's report on Friday, that the support provided to the team and Norv by the fans and players, respectively, indicate that things aren't that far away from being on the right track.

If the Chargers make the playoffs, Smith and Turner are likely safe. If they miss the playoffs, at least a 1-1 or 2-0 record is probably necessary to save their jobs, although it's worth noting that the two also appear joined at the hip moving forward.

"If Smith is retained, no one should think he will need a new head coach," Acee wrote Friday. "Sources inside and outside Chargers Park say Smith believes in Turner now as much as he did when he went out on a limb and hired him in 2007."

So the Chargers will play out the string and then Spanos will make a decision as to whether or not Smith remains; that decision will obviously affect whether or not Turner returns as well.

But if the Bolts can manage to close out the season 2-0, that decision could suddenly be a lot easier for Spanos, and easier on Turner and Smith.


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Posted on: November 22, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Report: Norv Turner's days could be numbered

Turner could be looking for work come January. (AP/US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Norv Turner is in his fifth season as the Chargers head coach. He took over the team in 2007 after general manager A.J. Smith fired Marty Schottenheimer for going 14-2. In three of the four seasons since, two things have been constant: the Chargers have gotten off to glacially slow starts only to mount a late-season run and make the playoffs. And San Diego, despite a franchise quarterback and plenty of playmakers, is still looking for its first Super Bowl.
Turner's record in San Diego
2007: Started 1-3, finished 10-2, lost to the Pats in the AFC Championship game
2008: Started 3-5, finished 5-3, lost to the Steelers in the AFC Divisional game
2009: Started 2-3, finished 11-0, lost to the Jets in the AFC Divisional game
2010: Started 2-5, finished 9-7, missed the playoffs 
But 2011 was different; the Chargers started 4-1, were the clear favorites in the AFC West (and even some folks' Super Bowl favorites), and everything was finally coming together. Unfortunately, the new collective bargaining agreement didn't shorten the regular season to five games. San Diego has dropped five straight and is a complete mess of a franchise. Philip Rivers has looked, well, awful, the run defense is non-existent, and head coach Norv Turner, through it all, remained expressionless.

But barring a Tebow-like miracle, Norv won't have to worry about the Chargers much longer. The San Diego Union-Tribune's Kevin Acee writes that Turner's days could be numbered.
At this point, it is apparent only a drastic turnaround will save Turner, as the Chargers have lost five straight and are in last place in the AFC West, in grave danger of missing the playoffs for a second straight season. [Owner Dean] Spanos also has wondered about repeated game management decisions, and after five years it is possible Turner has been given enough time to get done what no Chargers coach ever has – win a Super Bowl.
Ah, yes, those game-management decisions. The latest came Sunday, in the Chargers' loss to the Bears. San Diego lost its final two timeouts with 3:16 to play and trailing by 11. They burned the first one, and then during thee timeout decided to challenge a ruling. The Chargers lost the challenge (of course they did) and another timeout. You don't see that every day.

But Turner isn't the only guy who should be worried about his job. Smith could be in trouble, too. Acee writes: "But even late last week, word had begun to circulate in league circles about Spanos' escalating concern about the state of his franchise in the hands of Turner -- who has the second-highest winning percentage in team history at .608 (45-29) -- and even Smith, the man Spanos has given virtually complete control of football operations over the past nine years."

In general, Smith has done a good job of roster-building and fielding a winning team. But the lack of success in the postseason coupled with Turner's weekly gaffes have started to add up.

Early last season, when Vincent Jackson was holding out for a new deal and Smith refused to budge, Jackson's agent Neil Schwartz said "We had multiple deals in place. It is our understanding … that the Chargers were unreasonable. More than one general manager referred to A.J. as the 'Lord of No Rings.'"

Short of an improbable turnaround, Norv and A.J. might soon be the Lord of No Jobs.

As we mentioned in Tuesday's Coach Killers, maybe Rex Ryan was onto something.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com