Turner earns win, chance to smile

SAN DIEGO — During Monday’s press conference, Chargers head coach Norv Turner did something he hasn’t done in a long time: Smile. The brief levity in Turner’s conference was most likely the result of something else that hadn’t happened in a long time: A Chargers’ win — a 34-24 win that came on the road in Pittsburgh where the team had never won a regular season game in 14 attempts against the Steelers, and the first win for the team in four weeks.

But with a report of Turner’s possible firing at the end of the season and a third straight season in which it appears the Chargers won’t make the playoffs, there’s been little to smile about.

Chargers head coach Norv Turner talks with the media Monday after earning a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday. The win broke the streak of 14 regular season losses in Pittsburgh and the first win for the Chargers in four weeks. Photo by Tony Cagala

“I know there’s a lot of speculation and a lot of talk about my future and the future of the staff,” Turner said. “I’d just assume talk about the game, talk about our players and talk about what we have ahead of us in terms of Carolina and the next three weeks.”

With Turner receiving a game ball from Chargers Chairman of the Board and CEO Dean Spanos, he said he was impressed by the team’s closeness despite all of what was being said outside the Chargers’ organization.

“When you struggle,” Turner said, “it either pulls you apart, which I’ve been involved with on teams, and fortunately not here, or it makes you closer. And I think the things our players have impressed me with is the closeness they have and the commitment they have to continue to go and find a way to beat Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh,” he said.

Antoine Cason said he’s one of those guys that likes to have fun and lightens the mood to get guys to keep working, keep having fun. “Those are the time where you do win and you do come together and become more of a team.

“Things happen in this league and everyone’s really good. That’s not an excuse for losing, but it does show that, hey, guys are still here, there’s still a chance. We still want to win; we still want to go out there and compete and that’s what we’ll go out and do.”

As for any future with or without Turner as the head coach, Cason said those weren’t the decisions he was brought here to make. “We still have three more weeks left of the season and that’s my job. If I keep on playing hard and doing the things I need to do everything will happen the way it needs to happen.

“But for me, I take care of my job and take care of helping this team win, and that’s all I can do. The other stuff after that, those aren’t the decisions for me.”

Turner and his coaching staff are pressing on with preparations for the Carolina Panthers, when a few familiar faces return to San Diego, including former Chargers defensive coordinator and current Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, Rob Chudzinski and Turner’s son Scott, who is the Panthers’ offensive quality control coach. This will be the first time Turner has ever coached against his son.

The Chargers will face Carolina at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers Sunday night appearance against the New York Jets Dec. 23 has since been flexed out and moved to a 10 a.m. broadcast on CBS.

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