The San Diego Chargers are moving on from the A.J. Smith era. The Chargers announced that Smith along with head coach Norv Turner were fired on Monday. Smith was released along with head coach Norv Turner.
Team president Dean Spanos thanked both men while citing his commitment to building a Super Bowl winning team:
"I thank A.J. and Norv for the determination and integrity they brought to the Chargers each and every day," said Spanos. "Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom-line is winning. My only goal is the Super Bowl, and that is why I have decided to move in a new direction with both our head coach and general manager positions. I am committed to our great fans, and we will do whatever we possibly can to achieve that goal."
Smith is responsible for many of the personnel decisions that helped shape the current Chargers roster. This included trading Eli Manning for Philip Rivers when Manning was threatening to hold out. Smith also helped sign tight end Antonio Gates to a long-term contract after a lengthy holdout, and Gates became the primary weapon of the excellent San Diego pass attack.
Smith also struggled to get along with head coach Marty Schottenheimer and eventually managed to get Norv Turner as his head coach. However, after three straight playoff appearances to start the Turner era, the Chargers have been treading downward the last three years, missing the playoffs all three seasons. This is the first year of the Smith era the Chargers have finished under .500.