The San Diego Chargers (5-10) will miss the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years, but the franchise hit rock bottom Sunday, losing to the previously 0-14 Browns in Cleveland. San Diego lost, 20-17, to lose its fourth straight game, including its second straight by three points.

“It’s a sad day in San Diego, but I think there’s so many different problems that’s going on right now that’s causing team distractions,” former All-Pro Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “It just wasn’t good, and going into the game, I think the feeling was that – that the first win that the Browns were going to have was probably going to be against San Diego. That’s just not the culture that you have down there in that city, and that’s what the culture is now.”

Merriman had been optimistic that the Chargers would remain in San Diego, but now he’s not so certain. The team has underperformed for much of the last decade, often choking away games or losing games it should win. Heck, eight of the Chargers’ 10 losses this season have come by seven points or fewer.

It’s kind of tough to envision the Chargers staying in San Diego, no?

“It’s extremely tough, especially when you’re not winning,” Merriman said. “You’v heard it before – and I think we’ve all heard it – that winning cures everything. Winning gets the fans and the city, the community, the organization – it gets everybody excited again. And when you don’t win games, you just sucker-punch everyone in the gut, and it just really gives you that feeling that hey, maybe it’s time for the team to move on. It’s such a negative and dark cloud that’s going on right now. I don’t like it personally being a former Charger, but I don’t think the fans like it and just people around the city, it’s not a good time right now to be part of the San Diego organization.”

Merriman believes the franchise needs to make changes from within and should be more vocal about wanting to stay in San Diego.

“I think winning breeds positive attitudes of the players, of the organization, of the community, and it makes people want to fight to keep the team there,” Merriman said. “That’s No. 1. No. 2, I think the ownership and the Spanos family need to really, really get it out there that they want to be there in San Diego. You can’t sugarcoat it. You can’t hide behind closed doors. You got to be upfront with people and really let these people want to know that you want to be there. If not, then the people almost are going to push you out the door.”

San Diego closes the season at home against Kansas City (11-4) on Sunday. Kickoff is at 4:25 p.m. ET.


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