San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith came to the shocking but fortunate realization yesterday that he only had a dream about firing coach Marty Schottenheimer after the Chargers' playoff elimination in January, but that the firing never actually occurred. After calling various San Diego area newspapers to confirm that he never actually fired Schottenheimer, Smith then gathered his wits and called Schottenheimer to fire him.
"I was watching something on Sportscenter about Wade Phillips going to the Cowboys," Smith said, "and they said something about 'can Marty keep this team together without his coordinators,' and I laughed, figuring they'd made a mistake. Then they showed this graphic with all the new coaches this year and had Cam Cameron coaching Miami, and I was like, wait, I definitely remember hiring him to replace Marty, what the hell's going on?"
Smith went on to describe the wave of terror that shot through him when it dawned on him that he never actually fired Schottenheimer, saying "I couldn't believe it. I was positive I fired the guy. Obviously I was going to, we were feuding all season, then he choked again in the playoffs like that - what was I gonna do, tell him 'nice try slugger' and give him an extension? How come no one said anything to me? Were they all trying to be nice?"
Smith, still shaken from the events of yesterday evening, then recalled the dream he had in which he fired Schottenheimer.
"It was so real," he said. "Right after the Patriots loss, I said 'Marty, office, now!' and he came in and I pretended to be all calm and accepting then I started choking him and was like 'how does it feel??? This is what you've done to every franchise you've ever worked for!!!' and he was crying and apologizing and then Cam Cameron - or I guess it was Cam Cameron, it was kind of this dude I knew in the dream but don't really know in real life, you know? - he stabbed Marty in the back and then we hung him from the rafters of my high school gym."
"I really wish that had happened," he added. "The important thing is, he's fired now, and we can move on. Man, that would have been an awkward training camp."