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A.J. APOLOGIZES TO L.T.

From the Chargers’ official web site comes the latest twist in the offseason drama engulfing the franchise.
In a grossly self-serving item titled “A.J. reaches out to L.T.” but that would be more appropriately dubbed “A.J. eats crow in an effort to save his ass,” the team-owned and team-operated web site reports that Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith called star running back LaDainian Tomlinson on Monday night to apologize for Smith’s recent comments, which were widely interpreted as mocking L.T.’s statement from last week regarding his desire to remain in San Diego.
“I just answered a question and unfortunately my response was inappropriate,” Smith said. “After reading my response to the question, I can see why it was interpreted the way it was.”
Smith tracked L.T. down by phone in Tampa to explain the context of the remarks to Tomlinson.
“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 added.
Smith’s decision to use the word “utmost” is curious, given that L.T.’s statement from last week included an incorrect version of the word — “upmost.” It almost makes us think that Smith was given a direct order from owner Dean Spanos to apologize, and that Smith worked the word “utmost” into his quote as sort of a Revolution No. 9 message to those who know Smith that he’s saying what he’s saying only because he’s being forced to say it.
Smith also characterized the national and local criticism of his remarks as part of a “difficult time,” which is way out of character for the man who loves to project the notion that he loves nothing. Indeed, he once refused to allow the team’s media guide to include a picture of him smiling.
Then again, all that matters is whether Smith’s remarks were sufficient to placate Tomlinson and Spanos, presuming that the owner who was “very upset” by the situation forced Smith to say he’s sorry.
As to the former, it worked.
“It was great to hear from him,” Tomlinson said. “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.”
Correction — Smith said he felt bad. And we have the utmost respect for his ability to persuade Tomlinson that he means it.

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23 Responses to “A.J. APOLOGIZES TO L.T.”
  1. lentrowe says: Jan 27, 2009 5:55 AM

    Come on Florio, making the use of the word “utmost” out to be sinister is a little bit of a stretch isn’t it? Let me guess, he was out drinking with Tice and Del Rio too.

  2. dave61 says: Jan 27, 2009 6:41 AM

    AJ Smith is the biggest jag in the NFL…. he’s a classless guy and I hope they never win a damn thing…. Spanos probably is his dog.

  3. Crushing Touchdown Run says: Jan 27, 2009 6:52 AM

    Tomlinson: “It’s always better talking directly to someone one on one.”
    Then why the F did you start this publicity battle on you web site?

  4. Fade 2 Black says: Jan 27, 2009 6:59 AM

    No, hey lentrowe….
    I think like that too. AJ, like most executives seems to be a skilled commmunicator and, well, he might place a key buzz word like that just for the essential tweakiness of it (um, tweakiness? Haha.) and for the tension it continues to create. Quoted him before. Quoted him again. In your face!
    Hey Mr. Mike, I think like that too! So don’t feel alone. Haha.

  5. bored_of_seinfeld_jokes says: Jan 27, 2009 7:37 AM

    “Come on Florio, making the use of the word “utmost” out to be sinister is a little bit of a stretch isn’t it?”
    I don’t know about that. I’m of the opinion that the vast majority of the stories here are making something out of nothing. But in this case, the use of “utmost” in AJ’s reply to LT was construed as mocking him and correcting his ignorance at the same time. The idea that AJ is using one of the very terms in his apology that resulted the need of said apology does make one question the sincerity.

  6. radneck says: Jan 27, 2009 7:59 AM

    I wouldn’t read too much into his apology unless he says: “TL yrros m’I.”

  7. dash.rip.rock says: Jan 27, 2009 8:01 AM

    Really …. have you even met A.J. Smith ? or have you just turned into one of those smarmy TMZ style “journalists” that doesn’t have a story so you try to make your opinion the story …. You titter as you pass on that A.J. is “the Lord of No Rings” ….. where’s yours, or LT’s ? ….MOST people in this business don’t have one. (Polian 1, Dungy 1, Cowher 1 and done) To any-one watching this who isn’t on a slag-campaign against A.J. , it’s pretty obvious that this is about Tom Condon, and the fact that LT covertly throws his coaches and QB under the bus, gave up on the season and whines about carries, while being the reincarnation of the tip-toe burglar…. maybe someday he can coach or be a G.M. ….uh I’m pretty sure YOU won’t. Exactly when, did guys like you and Adam Schefter become some kind of football expert ? Between your PFTV segments, and the NFL Network interviewing Schefter regarding his football opinions …. you’d think either of you had ever played or coached anything. Remember.. you’re just a football gossip-hound … sneak into the locker-room and ask the towel-boys about T.O.’s attitude …. you’re not going to be the next G.M. of the Lions.

  8. AllSeeingEye says: Jan 27, 2009 8:48 AM

    Enough with the conspiracy theories please! “Utmost” is a very common word to use in that context. It was not a slap at LT. The originaly quote was not a slap at LT. AJ Smith is not frikin Sadam Hussein for crying out loud.

  9. florios new math says: Jan 27, 2009 8:59 AM

    LT is a gutless baby who plays hard and racks up big numbers against bad defenses in the regular season and can’t play well through injuries in the playoffs.
    With that said, AJ Smith is a huge jerk too. Imagine if they kept Marty and Drew Brees, as Marty wanted, and had kept Wade Phillips as DC and never went with Ted Cotrell.
    Also, AJ Smith is at fault for letting Michael Turner walk away and keeping an injured LT. The Chargers’ future would look a lot brighter right now with Turner than with LT. He has chosen Rivers over Brees and Turner over LT and been wrong both times. How many huge decisions is he allowed to get wrong?

  10. VonClausewitz says: Jan 27, 2009 9:54 AM

    AJ’s just trying to keep his job. But I’ll give him props for actually apologizing regardless of the reasons for it. However, neither the apology and the original offense shouldn’t be the reasons used to keep him or fire him. The criteria he should be measured on is the ability to win the big game and to maintain a competitive team long-term.

  11. Juicer says: Jan 27, 2009 10:25 AM

    the nfl is turning into the wwe

  12. jcdavey says: Jan 27, 2009 11:00 AM

    florio’s just digging now, he’s sad that some drama he created, has been defused……typical mediot

  13. finsbooyah says: Jan 27, 2009 11:27 AM

    Wow, Smith is a real prick huh… But come on with the “utmost” nonsense

  14. Pea Tear Griffin says: Jan 27, 2009 11:39 AM

    “After reading my response to the question, I can see why it was interpreted the way it was.”
    As if he didn’t mean it as a slight.
    And to the “utmost” question. I feel it is a subtle jab.

  15. purplepassion1 says: Jan 27, 2009 12:08 PM

    up at 4 writing stories? Apparently Florio no longer sleeps

  16. Clark Griswold says: Jan 27, 2009 12:34 PM

    ‘Utmost’ is one of the words that are used all the time when people in professional sports speak about one of their colleagues. Smith is a prick but suggesting that he is taking another swipe at Tomlinson is stretching it a bit.

  17. Gerald Keefer says: Jan 27, 2009 12:36 PM

    Man, I feel bad for Chargers fans. You have an egomaniac in charge there that obviously puts himself before the team. Spanos should send this guy packing.
    Florio is right on in his assessment of Smith taking a subtle swipe by using “utmost” in his apology. This man knew exactly what he was saying. He was directly quoted in the article and knew how it would see print. Regardless of how this man runs a football team he is obviously too intelligent to let something like that slip through.

  18. bored_of_seinfeld_jokes says: Jan 27, 2009 12:55 PM

    “And to the “utmost” question. I feel it is a subtle jab.”
    I think it was as subtle as a kick in the teeth.

  19. IHateTheStoolers says: Jan 27, 2009 12:59 PM

    I have the upmost respect for LT. Getting older and adjusting to it is part of the rites of patches in the NFL. He needs to be careful or his career will be debacled.
    -E. Smith

  20. WaltWV says: Jan 27, 2009 1:05 PM

    A.J. needs to go….when is it going to be the last straw for the owners to get rid of this clown. L.T., maybe a little whiny at times, but has done too much in the league (on & off the field) to take this treatment.

  21. Xpensive Wino says: Jan 27, 2009 1:42 PM

    Smith is a monumental douche bag with a ginormous ego. He weaseled his way into firing a head coach after a 14-2 season. Ummmmmmmm, that doesn’t seem like a guy who has the best overall interests of the organization at heart. Then he hires the perennial loser pineapple face as coach who wouldn’t say sh** if his mouth was full of it, because he could control him. Now he thinks the most popular player in team history was getting a wee bit uppity, so he had to put him in his place with his condescending pri** style. He and Carl Peterson could co-write a book on how to alienate people, be hated by everyone and never win the big game. And, how many stupid pills a day does Dean Spanos take?

  22. Facts Domino says: Jan 27, 2009 5:25 PM

    They keep disrespecting LT by continuously referring to LDT as LT, but aside from that J.A. Smith is still a joke. and yes the J. & A. are for Jack and Ass.

  23. bonecity7 says: Jan 27, 2009 6:37 PM

    I gotta point out two outstanding comments in here….
    Dash.Rip.Rock “….the reincarnation of the tiptoe burglar”
    I Hate The Stoolers “rites of patches…”
    That there is good stuff!!!! You guys that get all worked up on side of an issue or the other are missing out on some classic comments.
    Thank you Dash and Stool….good, good stuff!!!

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