- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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This is what happens when a team is 4-8 in a season that it must make the playoffs.
Reports of demise flood in.
In the latest evidence that coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith are entering their final four games with the team, U-T San Diego reported that ownership has decided to fire both. The report said that the decision to fire Smith has come after the decision to ax Turner, but both will suffer the same fate. This jibes with what ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Sunday.
This is no surprise and few in San Diego will complain. In our AFC West poll this week, a whopping 94 percent voted that both Turner and Smith should go. The two were given a surprising reprieve last year. That won’t happen this year after yet another disappointing season.
Like Mortensen did, U-T San Diego reported that San Diego personnel man Jimmy Raye will take over for Smith. The Chargers will search for a new coach in January.
What’s left for Turner and Smith in San Diego? Four more uncomfortable weeks.
UPDATE: San Diego owner Dean Spanos just released this statement: “There is only one person in this organization who will make those decisions and that’s me, and I haven’t shared my thoughts with anyone. I will make my evaluations at the end of the season. Anything coming out now -- from sources or otherwise -- is pure speculation.”
In other AFC West news:
For San Diego, tackle Mike Harris and linebacker Donald Butler (groin) were among the players who missed a second straight day of practice. Butler is likely out. Harris has a slight chance to play Sunday at Pittsburgh.
As expected, the Chargers will face Pittsburgh starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday. He has missed the past three games with rib and shoulder injuries.
Kansas City running back Peyton Hillis had a humorous retort to the comments of Cleveland tackle Joe Thomas, who said Hillis let his contract situation affect the team. Hillis and the Chiefs visit Thomas and the Browns on Sunday.