Sports Outside the Beltway

Chargers Hire Norv Turner as Head Coach

Norv Turner has been hired as the new head coach of the Chargers.

Considered by some to be the safe pick to take over the San Diego Chargers, Norv Turner at least is starting in much better position than he did in his previous two NFL head coaching jobs.

Turner was given a four-year contract Monday to take over a team that went an NFL-best 14-2 before melting down in the playoffs and then in the front office. “This isn’t a team where you’re rebuilding,” said Turner, who had been San Francisco’s offensive coordinator. “We should start fast. We should be good early and we should be good late. Not having to go through the normal things you have to go through when you make a coaching change is going to help the players more than anyone.”

The hiring came a week after the surprise firing of Marty Schottenheimer and less than 24 hours after the Chargers finished interviewing the last of six candidates. Turner was the only one with NFL head coaching experience and the only one from the offensive side of the ball.

The Chargers also signed Ted Cottrell to a two-year contract as defensive coordinator, then added Ron Rivera as linebackers coach just hours after the Chicago Bears said he wouldn’t be back as their defensive coordinator. Rivera, a linebacker on the Super Bowl champion 1985 Bears, had interviewed for the job that went to Turner.

I’m happy for Turner, especially after the disappointment he must have felt after not getting hired by the Dallas Cowboys after having been thought the frontrunner. Still, it’s hard to argue that the Chargers have upgraded by firing Schottenheimer and replacing him with Turner. Their career records speak for themselves.

And this must be a bitter pill for Rivera as well. He went from the defensive coordinator on a Super Bowl team to two head coaching interviews to position coach in a week. It’s simply bizarre for the Bears to hold his desire for a promotion and pay raise against him.

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