GREAT video of the Chargers’ comeback on Sunday led by Philip Rivers.
Relatedly, the Washington Post ran this article within the past week analyzing the Chargers-Giants trade that brought Rivers to San Diego.
In the spring of 2004, while holding the top pick in the NFL draft, Smith was rejected by the obvious first choice: quarterback Eli Manning. This happened when Smith called to inquire about the quarterback’s interest in being selected first. Someone in Manning’s party — which included his agent, Tom Condon; his father, Archie, a former star with the New Orleans Saints; and brother Peyton, quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts — told Smith, “Don’t consider us.”
Two years later, Smith has not forgotten this command. Even with his team having clinched the AFC West Division title and with three of the players ultimately acquired from the New York Giants in exchange for Manning headed to the Pro Bowl, Smith still acts as if he had been run over by the entire Manning family.
He repeats those words “don’t consider us,” in a gravelly voice, then shakes his head.
It might be one of the most lopsided trades of all time: Three players headed to this year’s Pro Bowl — Rivers, Merriman and Kaeding — for a quarterback who has been routinely booed by his home fans.
And no one seems to be enjoying this more than Smith. At the time of the trade, he was ridiculed as nothing more than a scout who got his job because he happened to be in the right place as an assistant general manager in San Diego when his friend and mentor, John Butler, died in 2003. Now he is getting his first taste of widespread respect as an NFL executive. He does not hide the scars of the mockery well.
“People say, ‘How do you feel about it?’ ” Smith says of the trade. “I just say ‘I’m very happy with it. And [the Giants] are very happy with it. And Tom Condon is very happy with it. And Archie Manning and Olivia [Manning] and Cooper [Manning] and Peyton and Eli, they’re all happy. We’re all happy people. I’m just glad that we’re all happy. It’s nice to have everybody happy.”