The San Diego Chargers have found a replacement for A.J. Smith as the team has announced a 4 p.m. ET press conference to announce that Indianapolis Colts vice president of football operations Tom Telesco will be the team's next general manager.
Telesco, 40, has been with the Colts organization since 1995, beginning as an area scout before working his way up to director of player personnel, a position he held for six seasons. Telesco was an in-house candidate for the Colts' general manager position last offseason, a position that went to Ryan Grigson. The Colts promoted Telesco to vice president of football operations last February.
Telesco was one of three candidates for the Chargers' general manager position, a search that was headed up by president Dean Spanos and included input from front office executives John Spanos and Ed McGuire, as well as consultant Ron Wolf. That group first interviewed current director of player personnel Jimmy Raye and San Francisco 49ers director of player personnel Tom Gamble.
Gamble is a favorite to fill the New York Jets' GM vacancy and the Chargers' announcement comes within hours of a report by Rich Cimini of ESPN New York that the Jets requested and received permission from the Colts to interview Telesco.
The Chargers fired both Smith and head coach Norv Turner on Dec. 31 after the team missed the playoffs for a third straight season.
Hiring Telesco should increase the talk that the Chargers are interested in Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians to fill their head coach vacancy. Even as the Chargers focused on their search for a new GM, Arians' name has been closely linked to the position. The Chagers could face competition Arians, who has been mentioned as a candidate with the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles. Other coaches linked to the Chargers include Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, former Bears head coach Lovie Smith and, according to the Los Angeles Times, UCLA head coach Jim Mora, who the team reportedly reached out to recently. Mora has previous NFL head coaching experience with the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks.