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San Diego Chargers set to make high-level organization changes

A passing of the torch will soon be set in motion at the highest level of the San Diego Chargers, according to a club source. Chairman of the board and president Dean Spanos will transition out of his position overseeing football operations in the next few years, with his son, director of college scouting John Spanos, being moved into that spot. Spanos' other son, A.G. Spanos, currently serves as the team's CEO, overseeing the business affairs of the club.

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When the transition is complete, the general manager and/or coach (depending on the structure at the time) will report to John Spanos since the general manager currently reports to Dean Spanos.

The time frame of this transition is uncertain, but Dean Spanos is expected to remain the chairman of the board at the end of it, with both John and A.G. reporting to him.

The next decision for the club is expected shortly after Sunday's season finale against the Oakland Raiders, with the fate of general manager A.J. Smith and coach Norv Turner hanging in the balance.

Should changes be made in both positions, as most observers expect, a source said the Chargers' preference is to hire the new  general manager first, then have him participate in the coaching search. The availability of certain coach candidates could affect that, but the club is expected to look at a broad field that will include experienced and younger candidates, including some from the college ranks.

The Chargers would also prefer to retain their current structure -- the general manager holding power over all personnel decisions and the coach retaining control of the 53-man roster, a source said.

Jimmy Raye, the Chargers' director of player personnel, is considered a leading candidate for the general manager title, should Smith be fired.

Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @albertbreer.

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