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Chargers won’t make a change

From the Associated Press

Marty Schottenheimer might be down to one last chance to get the San Diego Chargers to the Super Bowl.

Three days after the Chargers melted down in a stunning 24-21 playoff loss to New England, President Dean Spanos decided Wednesday that bringing Schottenheimer back for the final year of his contract gives San Diego its best chance to win.

Schottenheimer, though, declined the team’s offer of a one-year extension for 2008 worth $4.5 million, with a $1-million buyout.

The coach didn’t offer specific reasons, but they could have to do with the spiraling salaries given to other NFL head coaches, and perhaps to his strained relationship with General Manager A.J. Smith.

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“Right now, I wasn’t comfortable accepting it,” said Schottenheimer, who will earn more than $3 million in 2007, the final year of an extension he received after the 2004 season.

Spanos said Schottenheimer didn’t give him a reason.

“I offered what I thought was a fair offer and it was surely up to him to make the decision as to whether to accept it or not, and he chose not to, and I respect that entirely,” Spanos said.

With a regular-season record of 200-126-1 with Cleveland, Kansas City, Washington and San Diego, Schottenheimer is the most successful coach never to have reached the Super Bowl.

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His 5-13 playoff record has taken on a life of its own. Sunday’s loss was his sixth in a row in the postseason dating to 1993, and the ninth time a Schottenheimer-coached team lost its opening playoff game.

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Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick reluctantly surrendered a water bottle to security at Miami International Airport that contained a residue “closely associated with marijuana,” police said.

Vick entered a concourse Wednesday morning at the airport with the 20-ounce bottle. He eventually handed it over and boarded his flight to Atlanta. But his initial reluctance to turn over the bottle aroused suspicion among airport security screeners, a police report said.

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No charges have been filed, but police said the bottle would be sent to a lab for analysis.

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The Oakland Raiders brought in USC quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian for a second interview as the team intensified its search for a new head coach.

Sarkisian, the first candidate to interview after Art Shell was fired, met again with owner Al Davis and other team executives, a person in the league with knowledge of the search said on condition of anonymity.

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San Diego Chargers receivers coach James Lofton interviewed Tuesday and his attorney said he expected the sides to continue discussions later this week.

Other candidates who have interviewed for the job are former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel and Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

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The Baltimore Ravens extended Coach Brian Billick’s contract after the best regular season in team history. Details were not released.

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San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron arrived in Miami for a second interview with the Dolphins, a person familiar with the team’s search said. Cameron, 45, first interviewed with the Dolphins shortly after coach Nick Saban left for Alabama on Jan. 3.

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Russ Grimm, a Pittsburgh Steelers assistant for six seasons and their assistant head coach for three, met for six hours with owner Dan Rooney, President Art Rooney II and director of football operations Kevin Colbert. It was Grimm’s second interview in a week.

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The Houston Texans made assistant head coach Mike Sherman their offensive coordinator and promoted Kyle Shanahan to quarterbacks coach.

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New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison was upgraded to doubtful for Sunday’s AFC championship game at Indianapolis. He had been listed as out because of a knee injury before each of the last two games.

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Atlanta Falcons running back Warrick Dunn had arthroscopic surgery for a damaged shoulder that bothered him much of the season.


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