Former Chargers GM A.J. Smith dies at 75

Former Chargers general manager A.J. Smith died on Sunday, according to Smith’s son, Kyle, who is the assistant GM for the Falcons.

Smith, who was 75, battled prostate cancer for the past seven years.

Smith served as the Bolts’ director of pro personnel/assistant general manager in 2001, the year they drafted Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson and quarterback Drew Brees.

Smith was promoted to general manager in 2003, and was in that role until 2012.

While Smith was the Chargers’ GM, he selected Eli Manning first overall in the 2004 NFL draft, despite Manning saying he would not play for the team. He was traded to the Giants for Philip Rivers, who had a long successful pro career.

Other successful Chargers players Smith drafted included Shawne Merriman, Vincent Jackson, Darren Sproles, Antonio Cromartie, and Eric Weddle.

Smith went on to be the winningest GM in the franchise’s history with 98 wins during his tenure.

After being let go of, Smith worked for Washington as a consultant before retiring in 2015. His career in the league began as a scout for several teams and he spent 15 years working as an executive for the Bills.

Story originally appeared on Chargers Wire