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Spanos tries to quell hostility between Bolts' coach and GM

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2006/03/07/sports/professional/chargers/21_07_243_6_06.txt">North County Times</a>

    By Jay Paris

    SAN DIEGO ---- While most of Charger Nation is worried about Drew Brees, it's the hot air from A.J. Smith and Marty Schottenheimer that has Dean Spanos concerned.

    Brees, the team's Pro Bowl quarterback, will likely hit the free-agent market this week.

    But last week, it was Spanos, the Chargers' president, hitting the fan regarding the squabbling between Smith, his general manager, and Schottenheimer, his head coach.
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    The acrimony between Smith and Schottenheimer reached a new high recently when published reports quoted Schottenheimer wondering if everyone in the organization was on the same page and how Schottenheimer lacked a strong line of communication with Smith.

    Smith replied that he's in the business to win games ---- he's 25-24 as the Chargers' general manager ---- and not friends. He's chummy with few, with Schottenheimer certainly not among that small group.

    What the pointed comments by Smith and Schottenheimer failed to do was win over a miffed Spanos.

    So Saturday, Spanos brought them together, closed his office door overlooking the Chargers' practice fields and basically told them to knock it off.

    Unfortunately for Chargers fans, Spanos has experience with disgruntled brass.

    Some 10 years ago, his then-general manager, Bobby Beathard, and coach, Bobby Ross, meshed like oil and water.

    Spanos, fresh from a Super Bowl appearance, was reluctant to intervene. When he did, it was too late for the pair to reconcile. Ross was forced out following the 1995 season and the Chargers haven't won a playoff game since.

    Although Smith and Schottenheimer landed in Spanos' doghouse for yapping, they are tight-lipped about the situation with both declining interview requests.

    Spanos, too, wasn't up to talking, although he did release a statement saying the controversy has "been dealt with, and the matter is now concluded."

    Smith, who didn't hire Schottenheimer, has never enjoyed a warm relationship with the veteran coach. Schottenheimer, whose icy rapport with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder led to his firing after the 2001 season, has been out of the loop on some Chargers personnel moves. It's known Schottenheimer feels letting Brees go is a mistake, the opposite position of Smith.

    What was obvious below the surface between the pair has found air. That's why Spanos was intent on clearing the air, before the critical free-agency period starts for a team he believes will go deep into next season's playoffs.

    "I had several discussions with General Manager A.J. Smith and Coach Schottenheimer,'' Spanos' statement read.Ã "(Saturday) I met with the G.M. and coach together. I told them in no uncertain terms that I don't pay them to be friends.Ã I made it absolutely clear that I pay them to do their jobs.Ã

    "I expect nothing less than the highest level of professionalism from both the coach and general manager. I expect both of them to pull in the same direction at all times, toward a Super Bowl for the Chargers. The three of us left the meeting in agreement and we will now move forward, together, as an organization."

    Added Chargers spokesman Bill Johnston: "The statement is the only comment we are providing. Dean, A.J. and Marty are standing behind the statement.''

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