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Chargers extend GM's contract through '09

SAN DIEGO (March 7, 2005) -- General manager A.J. Smith was given a three-year contract extension, his reward for helping turn the San Diego Chargers from the NFL's doormat to a playoff team in one season.

Smith's contract now runs through the 2009 season. Smith was promoted to GM in April 2003, 11 days after his longtime friend and colleague John Butler died of cancer. He received a four-year contract at the time.

Smith has rebuilt the Chargers with two successful drafts and several low-key free-agent moves. They were an NFL-worst 4-12 in 2003, but rebounded to go 12-4 last year and win the AFC West.

Last April, Smith obtained quarterback Philip Rivers and a handful of valuable picks in a draft-day trade with the New York Giants. He also acquired veteran wide receiver Keenan McCardell from Tampa Bay at the trading deadline.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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