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Saturday, January 3, 2009
Early Chargers notes, AFC West coaching updates

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

SAN DIEGO -- Qualcomm Stadium erupted when running back LaDainian Tomlinson was introduced with the San Diego starting offense. Tomlinson was riding a stationary bike to warm up before the game and he went back to the bike after San Diego's second possession. Tomlinson was a game time decision with a groin injury.

Tomlinson rushed for 13 yards and a first down on the first play and a two-yard run on the second play. He appears to be running with some pain.

The Chargers then went to their other injured star, tight end Antonio Gates, on the third play with a short pass. Like Tomlinson, Gates missed all week of practice. He had an ankle injury.

Chargers fans are in such a good mood that coach Norv Turner was cheered by fans. Turner was not so popular three weeks ago but after the Chargers rebounded from a 4-8 start to a 8-8 finish and AFC West division title, Turner got back in the fans' good graces.

Meanwhile, the NFL coaching carousel continues to turn. Dallas is looking at Denver coach Mike Shanahan, who was fired Tuesday, for a potential job in 2010.

Is it strange? Sure, but it's Jerry Jones. He does things differently. This situation could appeal to Shanahan. Those close to him said he may be leaning toward taking the season off. With a year off and the possibility of taking over the Cowboys in 2010, Shanahan could return refreshed.

Also, it is being reported that Oakland interviewed Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride on Saturday. He has been one of the team's top choices. If Gilbride doesn't end up with Oakland, the team could turn to interim coach Tom Cable who was 4-8 in 2008.