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LT talks are ongoing; Smith says some players 'on notice'

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Feb 26 2009
    By Chris Jenkins

    [​IMG]

    Whether or not LaDainain Tomlinson will be back with the Chargers in 2009, General Manager A.J. Smith couldn't or wouldn't say. He had plenty to say about those players who definitely will return.

    Words of warning, really, against a repeat of 2008.

    “We've got some guys who need to step up,” Smith said Thursday in what essentially served as his annual state-of-the-Chargers address. “You give people opportunities, but a lot of our guys are on notice. ... I'm uncertain about a few guys. They know who they are.”

    Admitting he was guilty of some poor personnel decisions that led to an 8-8 record, Smith steadfastly refused to name names of players who disappointed with either their performance or their attitude. But he clearly felt a percentage of the team bought into all the expectations that they were almost a sure-fire Super Bowl team in 2008.

    “I think there's quite a few guys that felt pretty good about themselves and about the team,” Smith said. “They bought all the magazine covers, probably have them all hanging in their room somewhere. They heard all the accolades. That's part of the growing-up, maturity process. I don't think we'll be on too many magazine covers this year.”

    Four veterans know they won't be back with the Chargers. Not re-signed were a quartet of unrestricted free agents – defensive end Igor Olshansky, guard Mike Goff, linebacker Marques Harris and center Jeremy Newberry. Darren Sproles already was tagged as the Chargers' franchise player, and the only other unrestricted free agent, guard Kynan Forney, was re-signed Wednesday.

    Of course, the player drawing the most offseason attention was Tomlinson, and speculation was widespread that his situation would be addressed one way or the other in Thursday's press conference. Smith, however, indicated there's been no progress in the attempt to reach agreement with the MVP running back on an adjusted contract that would assure his return in 2009.

    “All I can tell you is everything is ongoing,” Smith said. “I've got nothing more to add at this time. But I will add this: we would love to have him. We hope he returns.”

    The Chargers also revealed that nine players have undergone what was described by Smith as “minor” surgery. The most serious procedure was performed three weeks ago on the neck of offensive tackle Marcus McNeill, who is expected to need five months to rehabilitate. Training camp begins in late July – five months from now.
    “He should be absolutely fine,” Smith said of McNeill.

    Defensive tackles Jamal Williams (knee, shoulder) and Jacques Cesaire (shoulder), running back Jacob Hester (knee), wide receiver Kassim Osgood (wrist), punter Mike Scifres (knee), linebacker Matt Wilhelm (shoulder), offensive lineman Scott Mruczkowski (shoulders) and quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (shoulder) had repairs that will sideline them for four to six weeks.
     
  2. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    A.J. Smith presser news and notes

    February 26, 2009 5:08 PM

    Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

    [​IMG]

    San Diego general manager A.J. Smith held a 45-minute press conference to address the team's status heading into free agency. There were several interesting developments. Of course, the most important part of the press conference centered around a situation that still unresolved.

    Smith said talks on restructuring LaDainian Tomlinson's contract were ongoing, but he wouldn't go into specifics about the situation. If Tomlinson, who is due more than $6.7 million this season, doesn't take a restructured deal to reduce his 2009 pay, he will likely be cut.

    The talks could last several days. There is no hard deadline. The fact that the talks, which began in earnest Sunday, are taking this long could be a sign of difficulty. However, both sides want Tomlinson to remain in San Diego so the talks will continue.

    Meanwhile, San Diego cut linebacker Anthony Waters, who was a third-round pick in 2007. The team had high hopes for Waters last season but he was injured and never made an impact when he was healthy. Still, it is a bit surprising the team gave up on him so early in his career.

    Smith said the team will not pursue any of its four remaining unrestricted free agents: defensive lineman Igor Olshansky, guard Mike Goff, linebacker Marques Harris and center Jeremy Newberry. That proclamation is not surprising.

    The team wasn't pleased with Olshansky's and Goff's play last season and Harris and Newberry are role players. The Chargers re-signed guard Kynan Forney on Wednesday and he could take Goff's place. Smith said the team would monitor movement in free agency but wouldn't say how much of a player the team would be. The Chargers will likely sign one or two players but not be particularly busy.

    Also, Smith said left tackle Marcus McNeill had knee surgery three weeks ago but he is expected to be ready for training camp. McNeill was hampered by a neck problem last season.
     
  3. Chargers-Superhero

    Chargers-Superhero Just win the Damn SB !!!

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    Whitehurst had shoulder surgery???

    From what??? Holding the clipboard???

    :icon_rofl:
     
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  4. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    Well, good to hear he's taking some responsibility.




    So, will we get compensated for any of these guys?



    Well, this tells me they are most definitely restructuring his contract

     
  5. foober

    foober BoltTalker

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    Don't want to say who. But there are two rb's that are pretty good that might fall to the 3rd round. Its gonna be running back by committee even if LT stays.

    Its Rivers show from here on. But the chargers have to improve the o-line pass blocking. I'm guessing first pick with a trade down will be o-tackle beatty or britton. Both better than what we have now. And they will hopefully land a better guard via free agency as well as a saftey.

    Plus with the trade down hopefully we can get a somewhat good 2nd rounder and get either d-tackle brace or evander hood to replace IGOR. And with the early third rounder hopefully land the running back to help out next year.
     
  6. boltsnow

    boltsnow BoltTalker

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    Not sure if I like those words. I would have liked to have heard something more along the lines of "we hope we can keep him or retain him". Saying we hope he returns makes it sound like he is already gone and they are trying to get him to come back. :icon_huh:
     
  7. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    LT, it was great watching you in Bolt's. To bad you wished to leave, I wish you the best and take care.
     
  8. Sydalish

    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

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    They way he said it tho gave me hope - he made the point very clear that the Chargers are working to keep him. At least that's how it sounded to me, and again how it came off during his interview just now with 1360.

    The silence from both sides is nice too - it means to me there's no drama and both sides are communicating with each other - NOT with the media :tup:

    Get it done guys - then it's championship time!
     
  9. boltsnow

    boltsnow BoltTalker

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    Agreed!

    Being in NJ though I don't get to hear what you guys hear. I would also have to agree with the fact that it is good that both sides are talking still. My read is LT wants to get it done and has probably instructed Condon to do so. LT has the emotional investment and TC has none. Obviously what they are working on is incentives and that it going to be hard to do. What kind of incentives do you set for what appears to be for a RB that they very well may be leaning away from. I would think it would have to be a multi-layered deal. If they reduce his touches, it may be very difficult to possibly reach some of the incentives. If LT truly wants to stay in SD and can keep pride set aside for the best of the team, I could see him entering the negotiations himself instead of letting Condon handle everything only because Condon's only attachment is the bottom dollar. Where as I would hope that LT's heart is in SD and wants to end it all here.
     
  10. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

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    AJ Smith never really did sit well with me because his tactless way of dealing with the media and his "it's all business" attitude but I, like the rest, just went with it cause he was making brilliant moves. I chose to ignore his demeanor and focus on his actions. Now his actions have straight up pissed me off! He really is putting LT on the spot and that is totally not fair. I mean, we have arguably the best running back of all time and this dude is shrewdly forcing him to swallow his pride or fall from his pedestal. I'm sorry but that is pure and simple bullshit. LT does not deserve this and it really sucks cause LT wants MORE THAN ANYTHING to stay in San Diego and right now, it's looking like he's being shown the door. Again, bullshit. There ARE guys we can cut to free up some space. There is no reason to do this to Tomlinson, a guy who has given so much for this organization. So today I tried to watch the presser but just couldn't. The arrogance, the lack of tact, that "it's all business" bullshit just drove me overboard.


    http://www.nfl.com/videos?videoId=09000d5d80ef457d
     
  11. foober

    foober BoltTalker

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    What you aren't figuring to realize is it is all buisness. I think the goal is to win the superbowl. We need a few more studs. And we need to keep some studs in the future. If LT cared about the chargers he'd give up some money and stay with the team and win a championship finally.
     
  12. Rainman

    Rainman BoltTalker

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    "I've got nothing more to add at this time... But I will add this--" :icon_rofl:
     
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  13. Brundlefly

    Brundlefly Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree
     
  14. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

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    This is a business first.

    Fans who do not appreciate AJ's business style would not last a heart beat in corporate america. AJ is a man's man and a no BS artist. He is not here to be anyones friend and is here for one purpose - the hardware.

    Those looking for tact - wake up. A.J. is dealing with (in some cases) low-life millionares with egos to match.
     
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  15. 17Rocks

    17Rocks Well-Known Member

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    And that is just the agents...:yes:
     
  16. Savage Lizard

    Savage Lizard Charger fan at 7000'

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    Yeah, poor LT. He has made millions and millions playing for the Chargers, and millions more from endorsements. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy and hope he stays a Charger. But if he doesn't come back it will because he doesn't like the amount of money the team has offered him, or because his ego was bruised, and it will be HIS decision.

    Trying to lay all of this on A.J. because he is actually trying to do what's best for the team is flat bullshit. We live in a salary cap era, teams have a limited amount of money to pay ALL of the players on their roster. I have said it before, you can have a team with all your favorite players on it, or a team that is doing what's necessary to field the best possible team.

    Several big name, huge part of their team guys got cut this week. That's how it works. Hopefully LT will think about things, realize he still makes an assload of money to play a game for a living, that he'll still rake in the Cambell's Chunky Soup money, that San Diego is a great place to live, and that he wants to finish his career as a Charger.
     
  17. 17Rocks

    17Rocks Well-Known Member

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    people who lay all of this on AJ are those who believe that keeping LT is crucial to the team. true maybe two years ago but not now. As much as I like LT the team will not crumble without him.
     
  18. Savage Lizard

    Savage Lizard Charger fan at 7000'

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    A-Men! I just listened to his interview on 1090, and that is the guy I want making decisions for my team. A lot of fans feel like he should just roll over and give the players and their agents everything they want.
     
  19. pure-sol

    pure-sol Well-Known Member

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    I totally agree with you, except I believe that in most cases it's the agents that are the low-lifes with the egos.
     
  20. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    Yeah, no kidding. :lol: I guess he hurt it patting Rivers butt too many times after making a great play.....:icon_shrug:
     
  21. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

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    Yeah, and LT can be the better man but I think AJ really hasn't played his side of the table well. He makes it sound like he's helping as much as possible but I just don't see it. It sounds like Smith has his idea of how the negotiations will go and if they don't it's the highway and I don't think that is right. Yeah, Trumpy, it's all business but LT didn't have to get shafted like this IMO. There are other players that don't need or deserve their current contracts who should have been coerced to restructure first, if they can do that. Oh and with the media business is business should not be your main theme. Being compassionate and appealing to your clients, the fans, should be.

    Yeah I am on LT's side, can you blame me? I love this guy and have enjoyed watching him more than any other player on any team so being a little biased and finding a scapegoat when my favorite player is also at fault is natural. And I repeat, cutting LT is not what is best for the team IMO. Dropping some defenders that can't defend would be better. And if this is how we help the team why LT's contract? Can they not ask someone else and how about our upcoming signings? What would happen if someone were to approach another player with a HUGE contract on the horizon and ask him if they can give him a little less this year so he can make a lot more once LT does retire?

    One more thing. From what I hear those star players have been being stupid walking out. The analysts are on our, the fans' side, as they've been going after these guys saying "you're still making money and doing what you love so what do you care?" I agree, LT really should swallow his pride and just take whatever is front of him. Honestly, good point with the endorsements. You're still going to be a star with Chunky Soup, Vizio, Nike, and what have you commercials paying for that house and that car and you get to stay, maybe play a more reserved role than you'd like, with the team that you love and just imagine LT being OUR guy, a player who spent his whole career with one team. He can do it. The only thing that's preventing him is himself but I don't think AJ is helping cause again, I feel like the FO has a plan and aren't budging.
     
  22. Savage Lizard

    Savage Lizard Charger fan at 7000'

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    I guess we just have different viewpoints. I want the FO to have a plan and not budge with regards to sentimentaility.

    I am a Charger fan first, I have followed the team for a long time. I have had many favorite players over that time. I don't want anyone to think I am necessarily advocating that LT go, or that I want that to happen. But I want our front office to have a sound plan to field the best possible team.
     
  23. foober

    foober BoltTalker

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    After hearing A.j. just now on the nfl network it sounds like they really want him to give up some money.

    I'm guessing big time. But the reason is to be able to sign other players we already have to longer term contracts. And we need to get a player or two via free agency. I think the chargers know LT only has 1 or 2 more years that he'll play. And his super powers are slowing down. ITs all about making the team stronger next year and in the years ahead. Got to be ahead of the game. Got to think a year or two down the road.

    Lt. Stay with us. JUst restructure. Still make millions but give up some. PLease. We want you along for next year when the chargers win it all finally.
     
  24. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

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    They should have a plan and part of that plan should be to be a little flexible, not extremely swayed by sentimentality, but agree to actually NEGOTIATE.
     
  25. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    LT negotiations on-going; Smith challenges himself, players

    Thursday, Feb 26, 2009
    By Casey Pearce, Chargers.com

    [​IMG]


    The only new news on running back LaDainian Tomlinson’s status with the Chargers Thursday was that there was no new news.
    General Manager A.J. Smith met with the media Thursday afternoon for his annual pre-free agency discussion, but the ongoing negotiations with his veteran running back kept the Chargers’ top talent evaluator from saying much.

    “We’d love to have him,” Smith said. “We hope he returns. Other than that, there’s not much more I can add.”

    After the formal press conference concluded, Smith was asked if he had any regrets regarding comments he made towards LT earlier this month. The GM showed a great deal of remorse over the way his words were interpreted and the fact that some people felt he came across as “mocking.”

    “There’s no question about that,” Smith said. “I was embarrassed by that and it was something that I felt terrible about.”

    Smith explained that while at the Senior Bowl, he was asked to respond to something LT had written on his website. Smith hadn’t seen LT’s words at the time but commented based on what he was told Tomlinson wrote. The next day when Smith saw his own words next to Tomlinson’s, he felt extremely regretful.

    “I could see where someone would interpret that I was mocking him,” Smith said. “That was not my intention and I felt terrible about it.”

    At first, Smith believed Tomlinson knew his intentions but decided to call the star running back a couple days later to apologize and clear the air.

    “I made that call for me,” Smith said. “I felt better about it just to talk to him and let him know that it was not meant to come across as me mocking him. I thought the conversation went well.”

    Smith made the call on his own accord and not because anyone in the Chargers organization asked him to do so.

    “A lot of speculation was Dean Spanos made me make the call,” Smith said. “I know that’s in the community. That was not the case at all. Trust me, in my six years, I’ve been in the principal’s office before. I’m sure I’ll go back again, but that was not one of those times at all. It was just a stupid thing that was said. Unfortunately I’ll have to deal with that.”

    Aside from Tomlinson, Smith did deliver news on other fronts. As he does each February prior to the start of the new NFL year, the Chargers general manager looked back on 2008 and ahead to 2009. He started by addressing the team’s pending free agents. The team will not pursue new contracts with their four remaining unrestricted free agents: guard Mike Goff, linebacker Marques Harris, center Jeremy Newberry and defensive end Igor Olshansky.

    The team has placed second-round tenders on restricted free agents Malcom Floyd and Cletis Gordon. The Chargers have the opportunity to match any contract offered to either player, and if another team did sign either Floyd or Gordon, they would owe the Chargers a second-round pick in this year’s draft.

    Tackle Jeromey Clary, the team’s only exclusive rights free agent, will be offered a contract, which means he will be back in 2009.

    Smith announced the release of two players. Second-year linebacker Anthony Waters and running back Eldra Buckley will not return to the squad

    Smith provided a medical update and detailed nine players who have had surgeries since the season ended, only one of which carries a long-term recovery. Offensive tackle Marcus McNeill missed the first two regular-season games and much of training camp last summer with a neck injury and had a procedure performed roughly three weeks ago to address the issue. The two-time Pro Bowler is expected to be back at full strength in five months.

    “He should be absolutely fine,” Smith said of the team’s starting left tackle.

    Others undergoing surgeries, all of which carry a four to six week recovery period, include defensive end Jacques Cesaire (shoulder); fullback Jacob Hester (knee), guard Scott Mruczkowski (shoulders); wide receiver Kassim Osgood (wrist); punter Mike Scifres (knee); quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (shoulder ); linebacker Matt Wilhelm (shoulder) and defensive tackle Jamal Williams (knee/shoulder).

    After the housekeeping updates, Smith spoke candidly about the direction he sees for the Chargers. He pointed the finger at himself and was critical of his performance over the last couple of years.

    “I’m not very pleased with my own contributions the last two years personally,” Smith said. “I critique myself every year just like I do with everybody else. I need to do a better job. I’m not happy with some of the player personnel decisions that have been made in looking back. I need to do a better job in the decision-making process.”

    While he publicly called himself out, Smith has also held private meetings with several players in which he challenged certain individuals to raise their level of performance.

    “I know players have to play,” Smith said. “When players play, they make you look good. If players don’t perform, they don’t make you look real good. The bottom line is those players are a reflection on who brought them in or decisions that were made to bring them in here.

    “We’ve got some guys who need to step up. You give people opportunities, but a lot of our guys are on notice. I’m uncertain about a few guys. They know who they are.”

    Smith spoke of the pride he has over the way the Chargers finished the season. When it looked like their 2008 postseason hopes were dead, they won their final four games of the year to claim a third-consecutive AFC West title. However, he acknowledged that a little overconfidence could have factored into the position the Chargers found themselves in once December arrived.

    “I think there are quite a few guys that felt pretty good about themselves and about the team, bought all the magazine covers,” Smith said. “They’ve probably got them hanging in their room somewhere. They’ve heard all the accolades. There’s no question. It’s part of the growing up, maturity part of it.”

    When asked about some players being in the news for the wrong reasons, Smith was blunt. He said that some players “need to grow up,” and he believes they know who they are. Smith emphasized his commitment to finding players of high character but knows that issues sometimes arise in spite of that.

    “We’re going to aim for perfection but I know we’re not going to achieve it,” Smith said. “It’s very, very important. We’ve got a lot of young guys in some cases. Some have got some growing up to do. Hopefully they’ll get it done and their growing up will be real quick. As I’ve said, I just believe (character) is hand in hand with winning.”

    As free agency begins Thursday night, Smith said that the Chargers will follow their usual form in the market: they’ll be observers and could make a move or two, but don’t expect any major splashes. The Bolts’ G.M. likes the core of his team but knows that he and his staff must continually push to help the team reach its ultimate goal.

    “I think we’re a playoff-caliber team,” Smith said when asked if he has a Super Bowl-caliber club. “We always have to fix things and get better. We need to play better. I believe we’re a playoff-caliber team, and then you have to make sure you maintain that.”
     
  26. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

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    One last thing...we've been off.
    The only thing LT should consider is whether or not he's going to win a championship. Money is but shouldn't be that important as he has millions and will continue raking in the dough from endorsements so he just needs to actually trust that San Diego will get him a ring. If not, then he leaves and it sucks. But seriously I would lose some respect for the guy if he made a decision solely on his contract which is why I'm pretty sure I'm going to forever credit him leaving as a sign of his lack of trust in the organization. I just can't see him leaving cause of dollar signs.
     
  27. Skuzzlebutt

    Skuzzlebutt BoltTalker

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    Now that general free agency has begun, I am optimistic that LT will be back next year. If LT heard the initial offers from the Bolts and thought they were an insult or far from being acceptable, then he would have asked for his release by now.

    He would have made noise and gotten released so that he wouldn't be loosing job openings to guys like Fred Taylor. If he thinks there is any chance he needs to find a new employer, he can't wait while job openings close.

    My two cents...
     
  28. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    LT will listen to his wife and mother over everyone else. his wife if very intelligent and his mom is, well his mom. What boy on earth won't listen to his mother? Good boy I should say, LT want's to be a Bolt and I'm sure he'll remain a Bolt but if his goes after the buck's all bet's are off.
     
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  29. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    This makes good sense. If they insulted him with some number off the charts he would have gone public about his release.

    :tup:
     

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