Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Did Chargers' Assistant GM really retire?


Some people (especially the lapdogs at the San Diego Union-Tribune) passed it off as Assistant General Manager Buddy Nix retiring from the Chargers.

But there seems to be much more to the story than that.

If you look closely at what happened (a great article in the North County Times), it sounds like Nix was pushed out the door.

When asked by the North County Times if he had retired, Nix said: “Hell no. I’m ready to go.”

Does this sound like a man who “retired,” according to a press release on chargers.com?

Nix spent 15 seasons in the NFL, including the last seven with the Chargers. If he really did “retire,” you’d think the Chargers would hold a retirement party for him … or at least include a quote from him in the press release on chargers.com.

For a description of what really happened, here is the story in today’s North County Times at nctimes.com:

SAN DIEGO ---- The Chargers announced Tuesday that Buddy Nix, the team's respected assistant general manager and director of player personnel, had retired.

Not so, according to Nix.

"That sounds awfully permanent,'' Nix said from his home in Tennessee. "I don't know what I would do if I wasn't working.

"I've been working 47 years in this business and sometimes you stay at a place long enough that you need to make a change.''

General manager A. J. Smith was quoted in a Chargers release as saying Nix "retired" and mentioned his "long, distinguished career in coaching and scouting."

"There was no resignation that I know of,'' Smith said Tuesday evening via telephone. "There was a retirement and then after that, we restructured.

"I'm a little confused, too. We'll have to find out what went from a retirement to a resignation.

"I don’t know what to tell you on my end. You have a retirement from me and you have a resignation from the man that’s supposedly retired. And the guy who resigned ended up reading a press release of retirement. You go from there."

Smith said there were no issues between him and Nix.

"We were fine,'' Smith said. "We just talked after the draft that he’s going to retire and I said, 'Good luck.' So something has happened to resign.

"We just have to find out. Miscommunication somewhere.''

Nix, 68, said he'd be golfing Wednesday, but he would field inquires from prospective employers.

"I still feel like I'm 40, but I know I'm more than that,'' said Nix, who was a college coach for 32 years. "I've already had several calls ---- let's see what happens.''

Nix was among the executives arriving from Buffalo ---- where he scouted for eight years ---- to turn around the woeful Chargers. He was hired in 2001 as director of player personnel and elevated to assistant general manager in 2003.

"I think that I'm most proud of us winning," Nix said. "When we went from 5-11 and that kind of stuff to be able to go to winning and expecting to win, that was big. And that was old (former general manager) John Butler's thinking.''

The exit of Nix, who was under contract, prompted a revamping of the front office. The biggest change is Randy Mueller coming aboard as senior executive.

Mueller was the Dolphins' general manager the past three years but didn't survive the housecleaning in wake of the team's recent 1-15 season and Bill Parcells' arrival.

Nix said he was unaware the Chargers were hiring Mueller, a 22-year NFL executive, but speculated "he will do a good job.''

Nix asked a reporter to read from the team's release what Mueller's job title and responsibilities were.

Ed McGuire, the team's executive vice-president of football operations, also will serve as Smith's top-ranking assistant and have input in player personnel matters.

McGuire's reputation around the league is of having a keen grasp on the salary cap. His work in player personnel, though, produced a 1-15 season in 2000 when taking over after general manager Bobby Beathard retired.Butler was hired in 2001, with Smith as his assistant.

Also Tuesday, Jimmy Raye was promoted from the team's scouting director to director of player personnel. John Spanos, the son of team president Dean Spanos, is the director of college scouting after serving as assistant director the past two years.

Nix added that he'll reflect fondly on his San Diego stint."I enjoyed my time there, but it was just time to let somebody else do it,'' Nix said. "Let some of them young guys do it.''

But Nix stressed he is not retired."Hell no,'' he said. "I'm ready to go.''

1 comment:

sam said...

This sounds very interesting. I wonder if AJ pushed Nix out the door like he did Coach Marty, Brees and Donnie Edwards? Hum.