A. J. Smith

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A. J. Smith
Personal information
Born:(1949-02-28)February 28, 1949
North Smithfield, Rhode Island, U.S.
Died:May 12, 2024(2024-05-12) (aged 75)
Career information
High school:Bishop Hendricken
(Warwick, Rhode Island)
College:Kentucky Wesleyan College
Career history
As a player:
  • Attleboro Kings (1972–1974)
As a coach:
As an executive:
Executive profile at PFR

Albert J. Smith (February 28, 1949 – May 12, 2024) was an American professional

AFC Championships. He joined the San Diego Chargers in 2001 as a director of pro personnel, and was promoted to general manager and executive vice president for them two years later. He stayed with the Chargers until being fired following the 2012 season. Smith's son, Kyle, is the assistant general manager of the Atlanta Falcons

Education and early career

Smith was a graduate of Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, Rhode Island,[1] where he was a standout on the football and track teams. Smith then attended Kentucky Wesleyan College, where he graduated with a degree in health and physical education in 1971.[2]

Following graduation, Smith served as an assistant coach at

Washington Redskins in 1974, but was not offered a contract.[3]

Smith worked as part-time scout for several NFL teams: New York Giants (1977), New England Patriots (1978–80), Houston Oilers (1981).[1] At the same time, he taught physical education in the Providence, Rhode Island school system.[1] He also served as a scout for the Chicago Blitz (1982–83) and the Pittsburgh Maulers (1984) in the USFL.[4][5]

NFL career

San Diego Chargers

Smith was first hired by the Chargers in 1986 as director of pro scouting.[6]

Buffalo Bills

He spent 14 seasons (1987-00) with the Buffalo Bills,[7] working his way from area scout to director of pro personnel during the team's most successful period, which included four straight Super Bowl appearances.[8]

Second stint in San Diego

After the 2000 season, he joined former Bills executive

John Butler in San Diego.[9][10]

Smith was later promoted to general manager after Butler, then Chargers GM, died of cancer in 2003.[11] He inherited a team that was 14–34 in its previous three seasons, and had not made the playoffs since 1995. Smith directed the Chargers to five AFC West division titles and eight consecutive seasons without a losing record.[12] San Diego's 7–9 record in 2012 was their first losing season since Smith's first season in 2003. Missing the playoffs for the third straight season, the Chargers fired Smith and head coach Norv Turner the day after the 2012 season ended.[11] Over his tenure, Smith allowed Darren Sproles, Michael Turner and Vincent Jackson to leave the Chargers without finding adequate replacements.[11] The Chargers' offensive line grew weak in 2012. Quarterback Philip Rivers was frequently forced to scramble and was sacked 49 times, contributing to his 22 turnovers—47 over the previous two seasons.[11][13]

Due to public perceptions that he brought an arrogant approach to contract dealings and that his strategies involved high-risk/high-reward, Smith was both widely praised and criticized by fans and media.[14]

In April 2004, a week prior to the

Washington Redskins

On March 6, 2013, Smith joined the

Washington Redskins as a consultant and senior executive. Smith and Redskins general manager Bruce Allen were longtime friends.[17] He announced his retirement on February 28, 2015, after failing to come to an agreement with the team on a contract extension.[18]


Smith was inducted into the American Football Association's Minor/Semi-Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.[19]

In 2004, the Pro Football Writers of America voted Smith the executive of the year.[20]

In 2005, Smith returned to Kentucky Wesleyan College order to attend a dedication in his honor, during which they unveiled a plaque of commemoration, naming a new training facility the "A.J. Smith Weight Room."[2] Smith won the Kentucky Wesleyan College Alumni Achievement Award in 2010, and was inducted into their Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.[21]

Personal life

Albert J. Smith was born on February 28, 1949, in Smithfield, Rhode Island.[22] He married Susan Smith in 1977, and resided in Del Mar, California since 2000.[21] The couple have two children together, a son, Kyle (born 1984), and a daughter, Andrea.[21] Kyle is the assistant general manager for the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL,[23][24][25] while Andrea is the director of premium services for the Anschutz Entertainment Group.[26] Smith died of prostate cancer on May 12, 2024, at age 75.[27][7]


  1. ^ a b c "Ex-Chargers GM and RI native A.J. Smith dies at 75; played for Bishop Hendricken in '60s". The Providence Journal. May 12, 2024. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  2. ^ a b "Yes, I can" (PDF). Kentucky Wesleyan Today (Summer 2005 ed.). Kentucky Wesleyan College. 2005. p. 15.
  3. ^ a b c "Washington Redskins: A.J. Smith". Redskins.com. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
  4. ^ "Redskins Add A.J. Smith As A Senior Executive". Redskins.com. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  5. ^ Donaldson, Jim. "A.J. Smith's NFL career may be at an end". The Providence Journal. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  6. Newspapers.com Open access icon
  7. ^ a b Baca, Michael (May 12, 2024). "A.J. Smith, longtime NFL executive and former Chargers GM, dies at 75". NFL.com. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  8. ^ "AJ Smith, former Director of Pro Personnel for the Bills' during their 4 Super Bowl runs, dies at 75". wgrz.com. Associated Press. May 13, 2024. Retrieved May 15, 2024.
  9. ^ Javan, Justin. "The Two Men Responsible for the Destruction of the San Diego Chargers". Bleacher Report. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  10. ^ Wilson, Bernie. "Flutie signing energizes Chargers". New Bedford Standard-Times. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  11. ^ a b c d "Norv Turner, A.J. Smith fired". ESPN.com. January 1, 2013. Archived from the original on December 31, 2012.
  12. ^ "2012 San Diego Chargers Media Guide" (PDF). San Diego Chargers. p. 11. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 20, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  13. ^ McLellan, Dan (January 4, 2013). "Chargers needs for 2013: A wall for Philip Rivers". cbssports.com. Archived from the original on February 15, 2013.
  14. ^ Monkovic, Toni (January 25, 2009). "A.J. vs. L.T.: Storm Over San Diego". The Fifth Down. Retrieved March 21, 2024.
  15. ^ Stites, Adam (April 16, 2019). "How a 'shadow' helped set up the Eli Manning-Philip Rivers trade, according to the GMs who made it happen". SBNation. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  16. ^ a b Rollins, Khadrice (April 16, 2019). "Former Chargers GM Says Trading Eli Manning Was 'Most Satisfying Moment' of His Career". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  17. ^ Boyer, Zac (March 6, 2013). "Redskins Hire Former Chargers GM A.J. Smith". Fredericksburg.com. Archived from the original on January 6, 2014. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  18. ^ Acee, Kevin (February 28, 2015). "AJ Smith Retires". UTSandiego.com. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
  19. ^ "Semi-Pro and Proud" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 22, 2016. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  20. ^ "Executive of the Year | PFWA". Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  21. ^ a b c "A.J. Smith '71 Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 2017". kwc.edu. September 1, 2017. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
  22. ^ "Former Chargers GM AJ Smith dies at 75". The Coast News. May 13, 2024. Retrieved May 15, 2024.
  23. ^ Lambert, Ivan. "Kyle Smith: Is the Future Now?". SI.com. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  24. ^ Keim, John (June 30, 2017). "Kyle Smith followed father A.J.'s path to key role in Redskins' front office". ESPN. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  25. ^ "Kyle Smith becomes assistant GM, Ryan Pace named director of player personnel among several promotions within Terry Fontenot's scouting staff". www.atlantafalcons.com. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  26. ^ Frank, Jared. "A Conversation with Andrea Smith". alsd.com. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
  27. ^ "Smith, winningest GM in Chargers' history, dies". ABC News. Retrieved May 13, 2024.

External links