Chargers fans, players react to firing of Norv Turner, AJ Smith

SAN DIEGO - Fans and players on Monday reacted strongly when it became official that both Chargers head coach Norv Turner and General Manager AJ Smith were fired.

Many fans agreed with the change.

"I like the guys, but they needed to go," said Jeff Brintle, a longtime Chargers fan.

The chatter online echoed that.

Dave from Santee wrote on Twitter: "Finally!"

On Melissa Mecija's 10News Facebook page, Mike Alvarez wrote: "Looks like it WILL be a happy new year!!"

Robert from San Diego believed that "the real problem with the organization was always AJ."

Jeff Gilson, also from San Diego, wrote, "Time for some new blood in San Diego."

"We have a lot of talent. Our defense is right there, our offense is right there," Brintle said. "The talent's there. We just need to make it work with the coaching."

As far as the team’s future, that is anyone's guess.

"Change is due now. Let's go ahead and make the change and let's make it happen and see where we go from there," added fan James Fisher.

As for the players, it was a somber and emotional day.

"We all gave him a standing ovation," said Chargers kicker Nick Novak. "It was sad."

Novak would not detail the private moments shared between the team and Turner but his loyalty and disappointment were clear.

"Coach Turner means so much to all of us and personally, he's changed my life over the past three years," he said.

Several players say fans never knew the real Turner, the one they knew behind the scenes.

"People outside of a room he really doesn't open up all that much," said Chargers center Nick Hardwick. "He doesn't give people maybe what they want, but people in the room, we have that much respect for him. He's a great, great man and through all the ups and downs, he's stayed the exact same.

According to ESPN.com, the Chargers are now the third team to fire Turner, who has an overall head coaching record of 114 and 122.

Despite having some of the best talent in the league, he never got the Chargers to the Super Bowl, which is a bottom line the team understands.

"It's about winning at the end of the day," said Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. "How you feel about a coach, how you feel about a player is all about what you can do and can you help this team win."

"I hope whoever they bring here has the same grit and determination as Coach Turner and I'm sure he would but, you know, he definitely has big shoes to fill," said Chargers linebacker Jonas Mouton

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