A.J. Smith passed the seven-year mark as general manager of the Chargers in April. He’s helped build a team that’s won AFC West championships five of the last six seasons and watched the team win 67 regular-season games since 2004, trailing only the Indianapolis Colts (77) and New England Patriots (73).
But who really knows A.J. Smith? The successful general manager opened up to Chargers.com, giving fans a glimpse inside the man who has built one of the successful franchises in the NFL.
Favorite professional teams as a kid: The New York Giants, Boston Patriots and Boston Celtics.
Position I’d play if I had to get on the field today: I guess being an old wide receiver, and I mean old, I would be most comfortable at that position. I would hope the routes called for me would be short and heading toward the sideline.
If I wasn’t an NFL G.M., I’d probably be: An agent.
Favorite athlete to watch in another sport: Kobe Bryant.
Favorite meal: Traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the fixings.
First real job: Health and physical education teacher in Providence, Rhode Island.
First car: A green 1966 Ford Fairlane.
Music I listen to: Beach Boys, Beatles and Rolling Stones take me back to high school. Motown, a lot of Four Tops and Temptations take me back to college days. Recent years, it’s a lot of Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley and various Caribbean steel drum and Hawaiian music.
Most valued traits in others: Loyalty and trust. This is very important to me. If you have these traits and hold true, it’s special. If I believe you don’t, we will part company sooner than later.
Worst habit: I drink too much coffee in the morning.
Best thing about San Diego: Without a doubt, the weather.
My bucket list includes: Playing golf with my wife at various courses around the country and top it off with some rounds in Scotland.
A couple of favorite quotes: “It is important that people know you walk among them without fear,” by Abraham Lincoln, and, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated,” Maya Angelou.
Favorite movie of all time: Animal House. A lot of people tell me that movie was an exaggeration of fraternity life. I’m one that will argue, ‘I don’t think so.’
Best advice I’ve been given: Work hard, be respectful and do the right things in life. If you do that, you will have a great chance of being happy and successful.
Worst advice: Be nice to people that are not nice to you.
Hardest part of my job: Making decisions to part ways with guys that were outstanding players who helped you win games. Guys that were everything you were looking for in a Chargers player both on and off the field.
Three adjectives that describe myself: Loyal. Dedicated. Persistent.