Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh celebrates during the trophy presentation after the 34-13 win over Washington at the national championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.

Report: Chargers in ‘striking distance’ with Jim Harbaugh

The Los Angeles Chargers are within “striking distance” of a deal to make Jim Harbaugh their new head coach, NFL Network reported Tuesday.

Harbaugh, fresh off a national championship at Michigan, is meeting with the Chargers for a second time Tuesday. He also has interviewed with the Atlanta Falcons.

The Chargers completed their first meeting with Harbaugh on Jan. 15. The former San Diego Chargers quarterback met with the Spanos family, who owns the team, at that time.

Harbaugh guided the Wolverines (15-0) to the College Football Playoff national championship in a 34-13 win over Washington earlier this month.

Harbaugh, 60, has a record of 89-25 at his alma mater Michigan and made three consecutive CFP appearances. He also coached at the University of San Diego (2004-06) and has a 118-46 record as an FBS head coach at Stanford (2007-10) and Michigan (2015-present).

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-14, including the 2012 NFC championship title and a loss to the Ravens and his older brother, Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh, in Super Bowl XLVII. Jim Harbaugh played in the league from 1987-2000 for four teams, including his final two seasons for the Chargers.

The Chargers fired head coach Brandon Staley and general manager Tom Telesco on Dec. 15. They finished 5-12, including 0-3 under interim coach Giff Smith.

Other big-name coaches have been linked to the vacancy, including former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel and former Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

–Field Level Media

Oct 22, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Joey Bosa (97) warms up prior to a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers open practice window for DE Joey Bosa

Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa was designated to return to practice Thursday, bringing him closer to a return from injured reserve.

Bosa, 28, last played Nov. 19 at Green Bay when he was carted off the field during the game’s opening series with a foot injury.

Thursday’s move opens Bosa’s 21-day practice window, although he was ruled out for a return this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Los Angeles still games remaining against the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs after Sunday.

Bosa has 20 tackles, 6.5 sacks and one forced fumble in nine games (five starts) this season.

A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Bosa has totaled 321 tackles, 67.0 sacks, 15 forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries in 93 games (84 starts). He was selected by the Chargers with the third overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Ohio State.

The Chargers also have ruled wide receiver Keenan Allen (heel) out of Sunday’s game, while cornerback Essang Bassey (concussion), and defensive lineman Nick Williams (shoulder) are questionable. Defensive back Deane Leonard (heel) and linebacker Tanner Muse (knee) are doubtful.

–Field Level Media

Jun 13, 2023; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James (3) during minicamp at the Hoag Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers S Derwin James Jr. (ankle) active vs. Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James Jr. was listed as active for Sunday’s road game against the Kansas City Chiefs after nursing an ankle injury during the week.

James went through an on-field pregame workout before he was ruled eligible to play.

The Chargers (2-3) will be without safeties Alohi Gilman and Mark Webb Jr., adding significance to James’ ability to play. Also ruled inactive for the Chargers were cornerback Deane Leonard, running back running back Elijah Dotson, tight end Tre’ McKitty, offensive lineman Zack Bailey and defensive lineman Christopher Hinton.

The Chiefs (5-1) made it official before the game and activated wide receiver Mecole Hardman Jr after he was acquired in a trade last week from the New York Jets.

Defensive end Charles Omenihu also was listed as active for the Chiefs after missing the first six games while on suspension for violation of the NFL’s conduct policy.

Kansas City listed five players as inactive: wide receiver Justin Watson, offensive lineman Mike Caliendo and defensive linemen BJ Thompson, Neil Farrell and Malik Herring.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA;  Los Angeles Chargers safety Raheem Layne (41) is taken out from the field during the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers S Raheem Layne out for season with torn ACL

Chargers safety Raheem Layne sustained a season-ending knee injury during Los Angeles’ 20-17 loss to the visiting Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley made the announcement Tuesday that Layne was going on injured reserve after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament during a punt-return play in the third quarter.

“Raheem is one of our top special teams players,” Staley said. “This is a tough moment for him, but he’ll be back.

“He’s proven himself in two years that he can play in the league. Excited to get him back because he’s one of those tough, smart, dependable players that you need. But we’ll definitely pick it up around him. I thought he was having a good season for us.”

Layne had played 74 snaps on special teams and 76 defensive snaps this season. He was playing dime safety on Monday because of injuries in the secondary.

Layne, 24, was an undrafted free agent in 2022 who appeared in six games for Los Angeles that season and made two tackles. He had five tackles in five games (one start) this season.

–Field Level Media

Jun 13, 2023; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) during minicamp at the Hoag Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler set to return Monday

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler was removed from the team’s injury report Saturday and is set to return for Monday night’s home game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Ekeler, who hasn’t played since gaining 117 yards in a season-opening defeat against the Miami Dolphins, has been out with an ankle injury. He has led Los Angeles in rushing in each of the previous three seasons, gaining 915 yards on 204 carries in 2022.

In seven seasons, all with the Chargers, Ekeler, 28, has gained 3,844 yards on 827 carries with 35 touchdowns. Productive in the passing game as well, Ekeler has 393 career receptions for 3,495 yards and 29 TDs.

While Ekeler is back, star edge rusher Joey Bosa remains questionable with a toe injury. Bosa, who had six tackles and three sacks in limited action over the first three games of the season, was inactive for a Week 4 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders and used the bye week to make progress on his injury.

Quarterback Justin Herbert, who broke a finger on his left (non-throwing) hand during the 24-17 win over the Raiders on Oct. 1, also is off the injury report.

Chargers safety Alohi Gilman is doubtful with a heel injury. Tight end Donald Parham Jr. (wrist) is questionable, as is defensive lineman Nick Williams (back).

–Field Level Media

Aug 12, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA;  Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore watches during the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys try to get back on track against former OC Kellen Moore, Chargers

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a dreadful performance and former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore would like to deliver some payback.

Moore now runs the Los Angeles Chargers’ offense after having the keys to the Dallas attack the previous four seasons. He’ll look to keep the scoreboard busy when the Chargers (2-2) host the Cowboys (3-2) on the Monday Night Football stage at Inglewood, Calif.

Moore was pushed out the door by Dallas coach Mike McCarthy after last season. There was a falloff in 2022 after Moore’s offense produced NFL-best figures of 31.2 points and 407 yards per game in 2021.

The revenge matchup comes after Dallas was walloped 42-10 by the host San Francisco 49ers last Sunday night. The Cowboys allowed a total of 41 points over their first four games before they had no answers against the 49ers.

“I’m pretty sure (Moore) wants to go out there and put it on us, but you’ve got to put on some perspective for what we just went through on Sunday and how we’re champing at the bit to get out there and get out next game, on the road, so we can kind of just get this taste out of our mouths,” Dallas safety Jayron Kearse said.

“We just went out there (against the 49ers) and had an all-time stinker for what this defense is about, and we’re ready to go out there and play against somebody as well. So I’m pretty sure he’s ready for it and we’re ready for it as well.”

There certainly won’t be any secrets after Kearse, star linebacker Micah Parsons and other Dallas defenders regularly practiced against Moore’s offense.

“It’s not uncommon in the league to have matchups where both sides know each other a little bit,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said.

McCarthy now calls the offensive plays for Dallas, and the club had a problematic night against San Francisco. Quarterback Dak Prescott threw three interceptions as the Cowboys totaled just 197 yards on offense and eight first downs.

“Continuity and consistency is obviously what we’re focused on,” McCarthy said Wednesday. “No. 1, you have to score points in this league.”

Dallas ranks eighth in scoring (26.8 points per game), just behind the Chargers (27.5). Los Angeles is fifth in total offense (388.8 yards per game) and the Cowboys are 17th (327.4).

The Chargers, who had a bye in Week 5, will get a boost Monday when standout running back Austin Ekeler returns after a three-game absence due to a sprained right ankle. Ekeler was hurt in Week 1 when he racked up 164 scrimmage yards (117 rushing, 47 receiving) in a 36-34 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

“I feel really good,” said Ekeler, who was a full practice participant on Thursday. “I felt like I probably could’ve played during the bye week if I had a game then.”

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert practiced Thursday and will play with a fractured left middle finger, an injury that occurred in a 24-17 home victory over the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 1. He has passed for 1,106 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception.

Los Angeles also will have star safety Derwin James Jr. (hamstring) after he was sidelined against the Raiders. He practiced in full on Thursday.

Pass rusher Joey Bosa (hamstring/toe) sat out practice Thursday. He missed the game against the Raiders. Safety Alohi Gilman (heel) also sat out practice, while tight end Donald Parham Jr. (wrist) and cornerback Deane Leonard (hamstring) were limited.

Dallas outside linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (neck) will be placed on injured reserve sometime before Monday’s game, McCarthy said. In addition, special teams ace C.J. Goodwin (pectoral) told reporters that he will be sidelined for four to six weeks. Both players were hurt against San Francisco.

Also missing Thursday’s practice were receiver/returner KaVontae Turpin (ankle) and safety Juanyeh Thomas (hamstring). Standout running back Tony Pollard (shoulder) was limited.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Los Angeles Chargers tight end Gerald Everett (7) runs after the catch against the Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers survive cliff-hanger with Vikings on end zone pick

Linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. made a game-saving interception in the end zone with seven seconds to go, and the Los Angeles Chargers escaped with a 28-24 win over the host Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis.

Justin Herbert completed 40 of 47 passes for 405 yards and three touchdowns for Los Angeles (1-2). Keenan Allen caught a career-high 18 passes for 215 yards, and he threw a touchdown pass on a trick play to fellow wideout Mike Williams.

Kirk Cousins completed 32 of 50 passes for 367 yards, three touchdowns and an interception for Minnesota (0-3). Justin Jefferson had seven catches for 149 yards and a touchdown, and Josh Oliver and K.J. Osborn caught one touchdown apiece.

The Chargers led 28-24 with less than two minutes remaining when they opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 from their own 24-yard line. Joshua Kelley took the handoff but he was stuffed on a run up the middle to give the Vikings a chance to win.

Minnesota marched to the Chargers’ 6-yard line in the final seconds. Cousins tried to fire a pass to T.J. Hockenson, but the ball was deflected and Murray came down with it in the end zone.

Allen surpassed his previous career high of 16 catches, which he recorded in 2020. He also moved into No. 2 on the franchise all-time list with 9,689 receiving yards, surpassing Lance Alworth (9,584) and trailing only Antonio Gates (11,841).

Los Angeles led 14-10 at the half thanks to two touchdown passes from Herbert to Donald Parham Jr.

The Chargers moved ahead 21-10 when Herbert zipped a pass behind the line of scrimmage to Allen, who planted his feet and lobbed a deep ball to a wide-open Williams for a 49-yard score.

Minnesota fought back to grab a 24-21 lead with 11:20 remaining. Jefferson caught a pass across the middle, evaded a would-be tackler and outraced the Chargers’ secondary for a 52-yard touchdown.

The Chargers responded with a touchdown on the next drive to go ahead 28-24. Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans nearly intercepted Herbert, but the ball bounced off his hands and into the arms of Joshua Palmer for a 30-yard touchdown.

The Chargers might have sustained an important loss despite winning the game. Williams injured his left knee late in the third quarter and needed to be carted toward the locker room. He finished with seven catches for 121 yards and a score.

–Field Level Media

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) can't catch up to an overthrown pass while defended by Tennessee Titans cornerback Tre Avery (23) during their NFL game at Nissan Stadium Sunday afternoon, Sept. 17, 2023.

Chargers WR Mike Williams departs with knee injury

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams was carted off the sideline in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings with a left knee injury.

Williams caught a pass over the middle when he took a hit from Minnesota’s defensive tackle Harrison Phillips and grabbed for his knee. He was helped off the field before being taken to the locker room.

The Chargers’ big-play threat had seven catches before his injury for 121 yards and a touchdown. He entered with 12 receptions for 128 yards over the first two games of the season.

Williams, 28, missed four games last season with a high ankle sprain.

In addition, Chargers safety Derwin James was ruled questionable to return with a left hamstring injury.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) celebrates his touchdown in the third quarter at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Simmons-USA TODAY Sports

Ryne Tannehill leads Titans past Chargers in OT

Ryan Tannehill passed for 246 yards and a touchdown, Nick Folk made a 41-yard field goal in overtime and the Tennessee Titans pulled off a 27-24 victory Sunday over the visiting Los Angeles Chargers to end an eight-game losing streak going back to last season.

Derek Henry gained 79 yards of the Titans’ 140 total yards on the ground as Tennessee (1-1) found some offense one week after a limited attack in a loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Tannehill pulled off a seven-play, 82-yard drive to give the Titans a 24-21 lead with 2:22 remaining in regulation after a 4-yard touchdown pass to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. The Chargers sent the game into overtime on Cameron Dicker’s 33-yard field goal as the clock expired.

The Tennessee defense held the Chargers to a three-and-out to open overtime then got into field-goal position by moving 37 yards in eight plays.

Justin Herbert was 27-of-41 passing and 305 yards for the Chargers, connecting on two touchdown passes to Keenan Allen, who had eight receptions for 111 yards. Mike Williams also had eight catches for the Chargers and 83 yards.

Playing without Austin Ekeler (ankle), the Chargers had just 61 yards rushing on 21 carries. The Los Angeles defense had five sacks, with two from Joey Bosa.

The Chargers appeared to be in control early, taking a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on Dicker’s 27-yard field goal.

Los Angeles went eight plays and 47 yards, scoring a second-quarter TD when Herbert connected with Allen on an 8-yard pass. Herbert then found eligible offensive tackle Trey Pipkins III on a pass for the 2-point conversion for an 11-0 lead.

The Titans answered quickly with Tannehill finding Treylon Burks on a 70-yard pass to the Chargers’ 5-yard line one play after the Los Angeles TD. Henry scored from 1 yard out to cut the deficit to 11-7.

Field goals by both teams gave the Chargers a 14-10 lead at halftime.

Tennessee took its first lead of the game at 17-14 on its opening drive of the second half, going 75 yards in nine plays and finding the end zone when Tannehill scored on a 12-yard run on an option play.

The Chargers moved back in front 21-17 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter when Herbert found Allen in the end zone for a second time, this one from 12 yards.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) celebrates after a touchdown in the first half against the Miami Dolphins at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler dealing with ankle injury

Chargers running back Austin Ekeler is dealing with an ankle injury that he sustained during Los Angeles’ season-opening, 36-34 loss to the visiting Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley said Monday that Ekeler is day-to-day but his status for practice this week had yet to be determined.

Despite getting banged up against Miami, Ekeler finished with 117 rushing yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. He also caught four passes for 47 yards.

Ekeler, 28, racked up 915 yards and 13 TDs on the ground last season, both of which were career highs. He also hauled in the most receptions of his career (107) for 722 yards and five scores.

Ekeler has only played for Los Angeles. He is currently in his seventh NFL season.

The Chargers are set to face the Tennessee Titans in Nashville in Week 2. Should Ekeler be unable to play, Los Angeles likely would lean heavily on Joshua Kelley, who rushed 16 times for 91 yards and a TD against the Dolphins.

–Field Level Media