Norv Turner is among the ex-coaches looking for work after the Chargers fired him Monday. (Lenny Ignelzi, AP)
Norv Turner received a note last week from Josh Whitman, a former player for the San Diego Chargers and now the athletic director at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.
Whitman played only one season under Turner, in 2001, when Turner was the offensive coordinator, but Whitman wanted to thank him for everything he'd done for him.
"On the bottom of it he said, 'you changed my life,'" Turner told reporters Monday during his final press conference after being fired by the Chargers. "And that's what you're trying to do as a coach."
They call it "Black Monday" in the NFL. There's breathless speculation and posturing leading up to it, and a race to report the news. There are fans hoping for the news their coach gets fired, with the Chargers' faithful using the hashtag #FireNorv on Twitter for a long time now. But behind all of the names scrolling across the bottom of the screen or popping up on Twitter feeds are human beings who just lost their dream jobs.
Well-paid human beings who just lost dream jobs many would love to hold for just one day? Absolutely. But men who now face uncertain futures and must think about uprooting their families to follow them elsewhere.
There were seven coaches and five general managers who lost their jobs in the most active Black Monday ever, with more to come for sure.
"Today is, every year, my least favorite day in the National Football League," said Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who fired Andy Reid. "For 14 years, I (have been) at home watching teams have to make changes with their head coaches. They work so hard at it, and every year for 14 years I sit there and I feel for many of them who I know quite well. Several of them have worked in this building and you just feel for them.
"Today we're in that position, and this is the first time in 14 years that (it's been) the case."
Reid was the second coach to be fired Monday morning, shortly after the Cleveland Browns let go of Pat Shurmur. Then, word broke the Kansas City Chiefs had parted with Romeo Crennel, the Buffalo Bills fired Chan Gailey, the Chicago Bears fired Lovie Smith, Turner was let go, and finally the Arizona Cardinals fired Ken Whisenhunt.
Even though it had been rumored for weeks new Bears general manager Phil Emery might fire Smith, it was a shock to many, including some angry Bears players.
"I'm going to go home and get away from football right now," Devin Hester said while also criticizing the fans and media for calling for Smith's firing. "I don't even know if I want to play again, man."
The day began with the first general manager being fired when the Jacksonville Jaguars let go of Gene Smith. After that, the Browns announced Tom Heckert would not be retained, Mike Tannenbaum paid for his mistakes with Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and Tim Tebow when he was fired by the New York Jets, and a pair of GMs were let go along with their coaches - A.J. Smith (Chargers) and Rod Graves (Cardinals).
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SOURCE: USA Today