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Chargers coach Turner would 'be excited' to stay with team

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  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Norv Turner knows his coaching future is being debated by San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos, who's also deciding if general manager A.J. Smith will be back after the team missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

It's believed Spanos will take a few days to assess this 8-8 season and previous seasons under Turner and Smith before announcing a decision. Turner has two years left on his contract, at a total of $6 million, and Smith has three years left on his, also at about $6 million total.

Asked if the fact he was still employed Monday was a good sign, Turner quipped: "As (opposed to) leaving me in Oakland, you mean?"

Turner subtly defended himself during his news conference, one day after the Chargers won at Oakland to end the Raiders' playoff chances. The Chargers were eliminated one week earlier in a loss at Detroit.

"I'd be excited about being back," said Turner, who's 49-31 in five years in San Diego but just 3-3 in the playoffs. "I'd be excited about this team. I don't know that unless you're living it day to day, you can appreciate what these guys have been through, what this team has been through from a physical standpoint. They've responded, and I do believe this team can go do some great things."

The Chargers started 4-1 and ended 4-1, but they were doomed by a six-game losing streak in the middle of their season. Had they won one more game, they would have claimed the AFC West title. Instead, the Denver Broncos won the division despite losing three in a row at the end of the season.

After the win at Oakland, Spanos told reporters: "It was really exciting. I'm really proud of them. I think it really shows how resilient they are, how hard they play for this coach."

Spanos wasn't available for further comment Monday.

"I am waiting for a decision like I do each and every year, but it's not usually in this dramatic fashion," Smith said. "Dean is going to take some time, which he always does."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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