San Diego Chargers fans were disappointed when Michael Turner was allowed to walk as a free agent in 2008, especially when LaDainian Tomlinson’s decline began immediately after Turner’s departure. The team now has an opportunity to right a past wrong and bring Turner back to the Bolts.
The word around the NFL is that the Atlanta Falcons will likely release Turner in this off-season. The former Chargers running back may be done as a workhorse back but should still have plenty of value as a runner in a committee. The Chargers certainly need help at running back and could use a veteran like Turner to split carries with and mentor the disappointing Ryan Mathews.
Mathews will likely get another year to try and prove himself, but backups Ronnie Brown, Jackie Battle and Curtis Brinkley are all set to be free agents. General manager Tom Telesco will have a blank slate at the position and be free to bring in anyone he feels can work in the team’s new offensive scheme.
Head coach Mike McCoy wants to run the ball and bringing in Turner would definitely be a good first step in accomplishing that. Turner would bring a physical presence to the San Diego offense that certainly lacks the smash-mouth mentality.
Turner’s production clearly dropped in 2012, averaging a career-low 3.6 yards per carry on the ground. However, he still managed 800 yards and double-digit touchdowns and continues to improve as a pass catcher. Turner will likely see a reduced role next season wherever he plays, which should actually benefit him and keep him fresh.
In what should be an improved offensive attack in 2013, Mathews and Turner could team up to resurrect the Chargers’ dormant running game and bring balance to the Chargers’ offense.