LT vs A.J. And Charger Fans Lose


I assume most rumors start out of thin air, maybe from a bored beat writer or (these days) an inept blogger talking out of their respective backside. Maybe there are shreds of truth from a lowly assistant or disgruntled back up. A pent-up starter, off-the-record coach, over zealous front office spin-doctor… doesn’t matter.

For whatever reason all eyes are on former infallible running back LaDainian Tomlinson and a possible banishment or willful exodus from America’s Finest City.

In an apparent effort to quell any notion of jumping ship, Tomlinson posted the following on his personal website:

I have been getting a lot of messages on my site regarding me leaving San Diego. I feel that I need to make it very clear that I have NO intentions of leaving San Diego. San Diego is where my career started and where I’d like it to end. I have nothing but love and the upmost respect for this team, the players, and the Spanos Family. Me being traded is completely out of my hands. I have ABSOLUTELY no control in that decision-making. All I can do is wait and see how it all plays out. As for now, I am a Charger and will be until I am told otherwise…

To which the Union-Tribune reported a response from GM AJ Smith:

“My first reaction was we both have similar feelings,” Smith said. “I have no intentions of leaving San Diego. San Diego is where my GM career started and where I’d like it to end. I also have nothing but love and the utmost respect for this team, the players and the Spanos family. I have absolutely no control over how long I will be with the Chargers.

“As for now, I am the Chargers’ GM, and I have major decisions to ponder for the organization now and in the future. My recommendation to Dean Spanos will be what’s in the best interest of the team – both short and long term. That’s my job. That’s what Dean hired me to do.”

It’s kind of like a bitter old married couple, no? Across the table on Thanksgiving, faking smiles, all the other family members watching but not talking about it. You know the lines are drawn. Everyone has picked a side but no one is outwardly backing one or the other. In private they’re giving advice, condolences, the whole “if that were my” rap.

Boils down to this, and anyone who says different is sweet but nieve: the league is a billion dollar what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business. And for every busted Sean Alexander in Seattle there is a Kurt Warner who is dismissed in St. Louis only to rise like a Phoenix in Arizona.

Surely, the next half-cocked fanboy with a Bolts jersey you meet will spit a litany of reasons for or against L.T. and his future with the Chargers. What side you’re on matters very little.

Charger faithful must realize that an elongated off-season tussle with both sides shrugging their shoulders, denying culpability, and engaging in self-serving finger pointing does not bode well for the organization.

Barring any unforeseen and rather trigger happy moves from AJ Smith, the writing won’t be on the wall until draft day. If the Chargers select a running back with their first overall pick then it’s clear where L.T. stands with the team. He’ll be out. That being said, if Darren Sproles does get a contract offer, it won’t be until after the draft.

So we have drama in San Diego, again.

Somewhere, Michael Turner is laughing.