After his recent comments were interpreted as mocking LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers general manager A.J. Smith reached out to his star running back Monday and tried to smooth over the situation during a 10-minute phone call.
“It was important to me that LT know exactly what happened,” Smith told Chargers.com. “I just answered a question, and unfortunately, my response was inappropriate. After reading my response to the question, I can see why it was interpreted the way it was. I absolutely meant no disrespect toward LT -– none. I have the utmost respect for him on two fronts –- as a player and as a person.”
Said Tomlinson to Chargers.com: “It was great to hear from him. 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.”
Tomlinson, who earlier this month stated his desire to stay in San Diego, is scheduled to make $6.725 million next season and count $8.79 million against the salary cap. That has led to speculation that he could be traded or cut by the Chargers.
Smith’s seemingly sarcastic response to Tomlinson’s desire to remain a Charger created a furor on the team and around the NFL.
Sources told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Chargers president Dean Spanos was “very upset” about the public spectacle, and linebacker Shawne Merriman expressed his anger by saying: “That (stuff) doesn’t help bring a Super Bowl to San Diego. And that (stuff) needs to stop, period. It needs to stop now.”
Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, a former Charger, told NFL.com that he felt for Tomlinson and called the situation “very disappointing.”