January 03, 2017

SAN DIEGO (AP) As the Chargers' brain trust wades into the search for the replacement for fired coach Mike McCoy, they won't be able to tell early interviewees whether the team will be playing In San Diego or Los Angeles next season.

Heck, the players would like to know, too, especially the ones who own homes and have kids in school.

''There's a lot in the air right now and as players we're all anxious to see what all that means,'' center Matt Slauson said. ''I don't have as strong a tie here as some guys do since I just got here in April, but it is a little scary because I bought a house here and one of my kids is in school here. So obviously not the most ideal scenario.''

The Chargers must make two major decisions in a short time following a second straight last-place finish in the AFC West and a third straight season out of the playoffs.

''Hiring a head coach will be the biggest decision this franchise will make,'' general manager Tom Telesco said Monday, a day after the Chargers finished 5-11 and fired McCoy with a four-year record of 27-37.

Problem is, the Spanos family - which fired Don Coryell in 1986 - has more misses than hits in hiring coaches, including Kevin Gilbride, Norv Turner and McCoy.

Plus, there's a much bigger decision looking. Team chairman Dean Spanos must decide by Jan. 15 whether to move to Los Angeles in order to increase the value of the franchise, or stay in San Diego and continue the long, bitter struggle to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium that has left the loyal fan base fatigued, angry and, more and more, apathetic.

Here are some things to look for from the Chargers in the future:

DOES DEAN LOVE L.A.?: Spanos has had his eyes on L.A. for more than two years, which has contributed to eroding the fan base in San Diego.

Going to L.A. will cost Spanos a $650 million relocation fee plus other significant costs, but the move could more than double the team's current $2 billion valuation. The Chargers would have to cultivate a new fan base in the already crowded L.A. sports scene. If they move, the Chargers would share a share a stadium with the Rams scheduled to open in 2019 in Inglewood. If they stay in San Diego, they'd have to repair the damage to the fan base that's been loyal for 56 seasons. There's also the issue of whether the city, county and San Diego State can team with the Chargers for a new stadium.

On Nov. 8, city voters overwhelmingly defeated a Chargers-written measure asking for $1.15 billion in increased hotel occupancy taxes to help fund a new downtown stadium and convention center annex.

The Chargers are 249-278 in 33 seasons of Spanos ownership, with 14 losing seasons, 12 winning seasons, seven .500 seasons and only nine playoff appearances.

COACHING SEARCH: The next coach will be the 10th hired since Alex Spanos bought the Chargers in 1984. It was Alex Spanos who fired Coryell during the 1986 season. The Spanos family doesn't like spending a lot of money on head coaches. Of the nine brought on board during the Spanos era, only one, Bobby Ross, landed another NFL head coaching gig after leaving the Chargers.

So far, the Chargers reportedly have sought permission to interview Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, Miami defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub.

PHILIP RIVERS: The quarterback, now 35, had one of his worst seasons, throwing a career-high 21 interceptions. He has three more years on his contract.

JOEY BOSA: Rookie defensive end Joey Bosa had 10 + sacks in 12 games. Bosa missed all of training camp in a nasty contract dispute with the Spanos family and then injured a hamstring, costing him the first four games of the season. He missed the season-opening loss at Kansas City, when the Chargers blew a 27-10 fourth-quarter lead and lost 33-27 in overtime.

MELVIN GORDON: The running back rebounded impressively from his miserable rookie season to finish with 997 yards and 10 touchdowns.


Follow Bernie Wilson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/berniewilson


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