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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
Turner has mixed emotions in Pro Bowl
Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner has been a part of four Pro Bowl staffs, two as an assistant with the Los Angeles Rams and now for the second time as a head coach as he and the Chargers’ coaches are in Miami to guide the AFC team in Sunday’s Pro Bowl.
The opportunity is normally one he enjoys, but with this year’s Pro Bowl being played a week before the Super Bowl and just two weeks after the Chargers’ season came to an end, this experience has caused mixed emotions for Turner.
“This game is a good game and it’s good to be around this caliber of players,” Turner said. “Under the circumstance though, this week is difficult. Our season ended just two weeks ago. That part of it is hard.”
Turner and the entire Chargers coaching staff are leading the AFC team, and San Diego’s video staff, athletic training staff and equipment staff are also in Miami working with the team. Four Chargers players – guard Kris Dielman, tight end Antonio Gates, wide receiver Vincent Jackson and special teams ace Kassim Osgood – will participate in Sunday’s game, which airs at 4:20 PST on ESPN.
“It’s a good event,” Turner said. “It’s great for the players. I think it’s a good event for the fans. The players get a lot of exposure and contact with the fans. Those things are all positive.”
Disappointed for Kaeding
Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding was voted to the Pro Bowl but won’t play after injuring his quadriceps in the team’s first practice Wednesday afternoon. Turner is disappointed for his kicker.
“It was hard,” Turner said. “He came down here and wanted to go kick well. All of us want to move on (from the playoff loss) and it’s disappointing that he had the injury.”
Kaeding was replaced by Miami’s Dan Carpenter.
Scene and heard
Both the AFC and NFC squads are practicing at Ft. Lauderdale’s St. Thomas Aquinas High School this week. St. Thomas Aquinas is a football powerhouse in South Florida and was named 2008 National Champions by Maxpreps. The school’s alumni include Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin.
-Practices last roughly an hour and a half and have a more relaxed pace than regular-season ones.
“It’s serious in terms of getting ready,” Turner said. “There’s not a lot of physical exertion going on, but mentally they’re getting the reps and getting ready to play.”
During the AFC’s special teams drills Thursday, offensive and defensive linemen were having fun participating in one-on-one passing drills in the end zone.
-Like they do in the game, each player wears his respective team’s helmet in practice, while AFC defenders wear white jerseys and offensive players wear red ones. For the NFC, defenders wear white while offensive players don blue jerseys.
-Practices are closed to the public but a large contingency of national and local media gathered on the sidelines for practice. There were a few hundred fans lining the fences of the stadium and regularly cheered, particularly when Ochocinco acknowledged them on several occasions.