A.J. to L.T.: ‘Meant No Disrespect'

Chargers GM issues statement via the team's website

Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith has taken a lot of heat recently for comments made about the future of star running back LaDainian Tomlinson. He picked up the phone last night and gave L.T. a call, according to the team's website.

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"It was important to me that L.T. know exactly what happened,” Smith said.

Smith spoke with sports writers last week talking about L.T.'s future of the team, suggesting the possibility of a trade, before contacting the player himself.

"We need to discuss a number of things," Smith told the North County Times last week. "There are four options out there. Does he stay? Does he not stay? Is there a trade? Is there a reduction of contract? All of those things must be discussed. We need to evaluate and discuss all of our players, but (everyone's) focus is on L.T. and I understand that because he is a marquee player."

L.T. released a statement on his own website telling fans "I don't want this."

Smith's response, made a day later to the San Diego Union-Tribune, was regarded as dismissive, and upset a number of Chargers players, as well as team president Dean Spanos, according to ESPN.

“After reading my response to the question, I can see why it was interpreted the way it was," he said on the Chargers site.

“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,” Smith said.

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

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

“It was great to hear from him,” Tomlinson is quoted as saying on the site.  “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.”

For the full story read the North County Times article "Future is Now for L.T."

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