AJ reaches out to LT

San Diego Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith, under fire for recent comments about the status of running back LaDainian Tomlinson, decided he owed the future Hall of Famer a phone call to clear the clouds of misinformation and speculation.  So he picked up the phone on Monday evening and found Tomlinson in Tampa, Florida. “It was important to me that L.T. know exactly what happened,” Smith said referring to comments he made in the San Diego Union-Tribune regarding statements on L.T.’s web site.    “I just answered a question and unfortunately my response was inappropriate,” said Smith, who has sat in the GM’s chair since 2003.  “After reading my response to the question, I can see why it was interpreted the way it was. 

“I absolutely meant no disrespect toward L.T… none.  I have the utmost respect for him on two fronts, as a player and as a person.”

Admittedly, Smith was hurt by some the comments made by the local and national media.  Though stung by the reaction, Smith was comforted by those who know him best.

“Dean Spanos and many members of our front office and coaching staff know exactly how I feel about L.T., and that is what has gotten me through this difficult time.

“And most important, L.T. knows how I feel about him.” 

Smith characterized the 10-minute conversation as “a great talk … the kind of talk we have at the beginning of each season.”

Like Smith, Tomlinson had nothing but positive vibes from the phone call.

“It was great to hear from him,” said the five-time Pro Bowl performer.  “It really went well.  It’s always better talking directly to someone one on one.  He was very upbeat and very sincere.  He felt bad about what had happened.”


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