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The choice of whether to build his own legacy or continue to carve the path John Butler created begins. AJ Smith, General Manager of the San Diego Chargers must choose between an old colleague or a new path and direction.

AJ Smith can find himself in many different scenarios, but in the short term he may see the hiring of Dwight Adams, recently told his contract would not be renewed in Buffalo, as a walk through the past rather then a forging into the future.

Adams broke into the NFL in 1985 as a scout for the San Diego Chargers. He oversaw nine drafts for Buffalo (1993-2001) as director of player personnel/vice president.

At 70 years old, Adams is no spring chicken, but he would bridge the gap into a comfort level for Smith who is in his first stint as a GM. Smith would then know he has a quality man backing his moves and could focus his attention on the Chargers.

Adams played a key role in overseeing the Bills' draft as player personnel director under former general manager John Butler. Adams' role and influence was reduced after Butler was dismissed and replaced by current team president-GM Tom Donahoe in January 2001.

Just like John Butler did when he brought Smith in from Buffalo, AJ could do the same with Adams.

The connection is obviously there for the two but other factors could deter Smith from hiring Adams.

Despite the conventional wisdom that could be behind such a move, Smith is now looking ahead towards the future. He has a young team and it is now his to run, no matter the footprints the great John Butler left.

The influence is already there in Smith, and bringing in Adams would never relieve him of the Butler stigma, not that it is a bad stigma to have.

Still, Smith is eager to form his own relationships and provide the mentoring Butler gave to him.

"John built the foundation for the Chargers, no question about that," Smith said a few weeks back. "And what I hope to do is build something very special, over time, on top of that foundation."

Now Smith must choose which path will not only give him his own identity, but also give him success.

Denis Savage can be reached at or via the following link: Denis Savage

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