Reports and rumors have been floating around for quite some time regarding the Atlanta Falcons and Michael Turner. The rumor is simple: He’s on his way out. Why does this matter? Well, the Chargers could use a running back and Turner has already been with the Chargers as a backup for LaDanian Tomlinson.
Turner was with the Chargers from 2004-2007. During his time there, he rushed for 1,257 yards and 6 touchdowns as a 2nd stringer. Most Charger fans remember Turner for his 83-yard touchdown run against the, then undefeated, Indianapolis Colts to bring their 13-game winning streak to a close. After the game, Chargers fans started referring to Turner as Michael “The Burner” Turner.
After the Chargers franchise-tagged him in the beggining of the 2007 season, Turner tested the waters in free agency. The Atlanta Falcons picked him up and he turned into one of the league’s prominent running backs. With Atlanta, he made the Pro Bowl twice, was selected as an All Pro twice, and led the league in rushing twice. For total statistics, his best season was in 2011 where he led the league in rushing yards with 1,340 and scored 12 touchdowns all while averaging 4.5 yards per carry with a long of 81 yards.
Falcon fans have since started to fall out of love with “the Burner”. While injuries haven’t really affected him, his production has still slowly started to decline. Last season he rushed for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging 3.6 yards per carry. These numbers aren’t astonishingly low but for Turner, who’s produced at an elite level, they start to spark concern.
So if Turner is on his way out, would he consider coming back to the Chargers? I’ve said numerous times that the Chargers would benefit from a two-back system. If they decide to test the free agent market, there aren’t a lot of great options. The top running back free agents are Steven Jackson, Reggie Bush, Rashard Mendenhall, Ahmad Bradshaw, Cedric Benson, and Peyton Hillis. All of those running backs have one thing in common. Injuries.
If Turner would decide to come to San Diego, he’d not only bring excitement from the fans, but he could have the chance to finish his career with the team he started with and finish it strong. He and Ryan Matthews would pack a great one-two punch and neither would have to worry about single handedly carrying the load.