Chargers sign coach Turner to three-year contract extension

SAN DIEGO -- Like it or not, Chargers fans, coach Norv Turner could be sticking around for four more years.

The Chargers announced Monday night that the oft-maligned coach has signed a three-year contract extension that runs through 2013. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

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The extension came just more than 24 hours after the Chargers were shocked 17-14 by the New York Jets in the AFC divisional playoffs, renewing calls by some fans for Turner to be fired.

The Chargers had been expected to extend Turner's contract during the offseason so he wouldn't be a lame-duck coach 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 Chargers general manager A.J. Smith returned calls seeking comment. The team didn't plan a news conference, spokesman Bill Johnston said.

Turner seemed to be on his way to erasing the stigma of never being able to reach the big game as a head coach. Although he won two Super Bowl rings as the Dallas Cowboys' offensive coordinator in the early 1990s, his first two head-coaching stints, with the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders, were forgettable.

Most Chargers fans groaned when Turner was hired to replace the fired Marty Schottenheimer after the 2006 season. Turner joined the Chargers with a 58-82-1 record as an NFL head coach. While Schottenheimer couldn't win in the postseason, Turner couldn't make it to the postseason.

That changed in San Diego, although Turner still hasn't been able to coach the talent-laden Chargers to the Super Bowl.

The Chargers have won three consecutive AFC West titles under Turner, but they are just 3-3 in the playoffs. They reached the AFC title game in Turner's first season before losing at New England, and they have been eliminated in the divisional round the last two seasons.

Turner's regular-season record with the Chargers is 32-16, but his overall record is still sub-.500, at 90-98-1.

Turner was credited as being the steadying force this season 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.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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