Chargers elevate Shelmon to OC

After spending the past five seasons as the Chargers running backs coach, Clarence Shelmon has been promoted to offensive coordinator.

The team is expected to finalize the contract with Shelmon next week. He replaces Cam Cameron who last week became the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

"Clarence has a strong familiarity with this offense and he's a terrific teacher," head coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "When you look at the players that he has coached, not only here but going back to Emmitt Smith and Chris Warren, he's had a lot of success. It made all the sense in the world to me to go ahead and designate him as the offensive coordinator."

Shelmon, who has never been an offensive coordinator, has been a running backs coach for the last 16 seasons in the NFL, the last five with San Diego.

The Chargers surpassed the 2,000-yard rushing barrier again in 2006, their fifth-straight 2,000-yard season, tying Denver for the longest active streak in the NFL.

Prior to his arrival in San Diego, Shelmon spent four seasons (1998-2001) as the running backs coach for the Dallas Cowboys, where he worked with LaDainian Tomlinson's idol, Emmitt Smith, who played in Pro Bowls following the 1998 and '99 seasons. During Shelmon's tenure, Smith accumulated 4,953 yards and in 2002 became the NFL's all-time leading rusher, moving past Walter Payton. Smith rushed for 1,000 yards or more in each of his four seasons under Shelmon.

Shelmon was the running backs coach for the Seattle Seahawks from 1992-97. During that time, the Seahawks finished among the NFL's top five in rushing four out of six seasons. Shelmon helped running back Chris Warren, the Seahawks all-time leading rusher, become a four-time 1,000-yard rusher (1992-95) and earn three trips to the Pro Bowl.

Shelmon began his NFL coaching career in 1991 as the running backs coach for the Los Angeles Rams.

"Changes will be very subtle," Shelmon said. "Obviously I'm a different person than Cam, so I may see things a little bit different, but the basics have been established. I see no reason to go making a lot of changes. We just want the offense to continue to evolve as it has over the last five years. It's about continuing to find ways to put our players in positions to do what they do best."

During his time as a running backs coach, Shelmon has seen four of his backs earn a total of 11 Pro Bowls, including Tomlinson (4) and Lorenzo Neal (2).

"The players all respect him because they know he is a terrific teacher and he understands the big picture," said Schottenheimer."

"When (Shelmon) first got here, he taught me a lot," Tomlinson said. "He taught me about watching film and different things out on the football field, learning how to run the football, learning how to read defenses to get me to this point. I'd probably say that he's had the most influence on me as a player."

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