The newspaper Thursday cited sources who said team President Dean Spanos had made up his mind at least a month ago to terminate Turner and had more recently determined Smith had to go as well because of the Chargers struggles on the field and growing unrest among the team's fans.
Spanos told the U-T in a written statement the idea he had made up his mind about Smith and Turner was "pure speculation."
"There is only one person in this organization who will make those decisions, and that's me, and I haven't shared my thoughts with anyone," Spanos said. "I will make evaluations at the end of the season."
The Chargers began the season with high hopes of at least winning the wobbly AFC West. While they are in second place, they are an anemic 4-8 and have gone 1-4 in their last five games.
The team's travails in 2012 coupled with a disappointing 8-8 mark in 2011 had Turner and Smith in the crosshairs of frustrated Chargers fans from the start of the season. Disappointing drafts and a banged-up offensive line raised fears the chance of parlaying the prime years of quarterback Philip Rivers would slip away before San Diego won its first Super Bowl.
Turner has a 56-44 record with the Chargers and a year remaining on his contract. Smith has two years left on his contract.
The U-T said potential replacements for Turner included Philadelphia Eagles Coach Andy Reid, former NFL coaches Mike Holmgren and Jon Gruden, Stanford head Coach Drew Shaw and Oregon head Coach Chip Kelly.
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