Chargers' Smith regrets mocking Tomlinson

SAN DIEGO -- Chargers general manager A.J. Smith regrets making comments mocking star running back LaDainian Tomlinson, whose eight-year stay with the team could be over because of salary-cap issues.

Smith called Tomlinson on Monday to try to clear the air.

"It was important to me that L.T. know exactly what happened," Smith said on the team's Web site.

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After Tomlinson said on his Web site last week that he wanted to stay in San Diego, Smith mocked the 2006 NFL MVP in comments to the San Diego Union-Tribune, mimicking L.T.'s comments practically word-for-word.

"I just answered a question and unfortunately my response was inappropriate," Smith said. "After reading my response to the question, I can see why it was interpreted the way it was. I absolutely meant no disrespect toward L.T ... none. I have the utmost respect for him on two fronts, as a player and as a person."

Smith didn't return phone calls seeking further comment. The team has refused to make team president Dean Spanos available to comment on the Smith-L.T. tiff.

Earlier this month, the GM was angry that the severity of Tomlinson's groin injury was revealed, calling out the player and his agent, Tom Condon. Tomlinson, the franchise's most brutally honest employee, confirmed that he had a detached tendon his groin while the team said only that he had a strained groin.

Tomlinson missed San Diego's divisional-round playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers with a groin injury. He'll count approximately $8.8 million against the salary cap next season, so the Chargers, who finished 9-9, are debating whether to trade him, restructure his contract or release him.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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