Wed, Feb 14, 2007 - Page 18 News List

NFL's Chargers fire head coach as result of power struggle

AFP , SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

Marty Schottenheimer, who guided his team to an NFL-best 14-2 record, was fired by the San Diego Chargers on Monday.

Chargers president Dean Spanos called the decision "extremely difficult," but said that it came as a result of a power struggle between Schottenheimer and team general manager A.J. Smith.

"The process of dealing with these coaching changes convinced me that we simply could not move forward with such dysfunction between our head coach and general manager," Spanos said.

"In short, this entire process over the last month convinced me beyond any doubt that I had to act to change this untenable situation," he said.

San Diego was an NFL-best 14-2 this season but suffered a 24-21 playoff loss to New England on Jan. 14.

Schottenheimer has 200 career regular-season victories, the fifth highest total in NFL history, but has never been able to translate his regular-season achievements into playoff success.

Schottenheimer has never taken a team to the Super Bowl, posting a 5-13 postseason record and going 0-2 with the Chargers.

"My decision means that our organization will be obligated to pay the last year of Marty Schottenheimer's contract and will begin an intense search for a new head coach at this relatively late date," Spanos said.

"But these are sacrifices that I believe are necessary to give the Chargers the best possible chance to win on the field this season," he said.

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