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A.J. Smith, former Chargers GM, retires from NFL

A.J. Smith is calling it a career.

The former Chargers general manager, who spent the last two seasons as a consultant with the Redskins, has decided to leave the game after nearly four decades. Smith announced last week that his contract with Washington had not been renewed.

"We had a family discussion and an actual voting process. It was unanimous!" Smith wrote in an e-mail to U-T San Diego. " ... We have experienced incredible highs and lows in our 38-year ride. At the age of 66, it's time for me to enjoy my family and friends more than ever before. I will now get going on my long-awaited bucket list.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to be a part of the National Football League," he added. "I will always cherish my time in the NFL and the friendships that developed over those many years. Looking forward to spending lots of time in Del Mar, Rhode Island and parts unknown."

Sounds like a plan to us. Smith is the winningest GM in Chargers history, with 98 wins over 10 seasons. Smith presided over the 2004 draft-day trade that sent Eli Manning to the Giants and prompted Philip Rivers' arrival. He infamously fired Marty Schottenheimer after a 14-2 season and quick playoff exit. The Turk came for Smith after a 7-9 season in 2012.

Smith's Chargers teams are most memorable for their inability to get over the hump. We imagine these are the incredible lows he refers to in his email. In any event, Smith had a successful career and still has all his hair. There are worse fates.

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