- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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One of the underlying storylines of LaDainian Tomlinson's pre-retirement return to the San Diego Chargers is his reconciliation with general manager A.J. Smith.
A public rift between Smith and Tomlinson put a cloud over Tomlinson’s departure in 2010 after nine seasons in San Diego. Any time a star leaves a team because the team thinks he can no longer help, there are raw emotions.
However, neither Tomlinson nor Smith helped the situation, each making unfortunate comments. Tomlinson seemed to take his bitterness with him to the New York Jets, and took several shots at Smith and the Chargers well after moving on.
Now, however, it seems the Tomlinson-Smith rift is over. Tomlinson signed with the Chargers on Monday and immediately retired.
Smith made it clear to U-T San Diego that all is good between himself and the future Hall of Famer. “Right or wrong, all the word that was exchanged in the past was nothing more than emotional, meaningless banter. It was highly competitive people protecting their own turf. All of us knew in our hearts we would end up right where we are today.”
Kudos to both Tomlinson and Smith for burying the hatchet and making sure this story ended the right way.
5dEric D. Williams