Lucky you, I have finally received what is probably an advanced copy of the UT’s upcoming expose of Tom Telesco, by none other than beloved local sports columnist Kevin Acee, possibly.
Tom Telesco: Man, Myth or Legend? All of the Above
The first time I laid eyes on Tom Telesco was a few years ago while the Chargers were visiting Indianapolis during the regular season. This was at a time when Norv and AJ’s crew had Indy’s number so I was putting together a piece on how the Colts front office executives dealt with the realization that their team was sorely overmatched by the squad that AJ Smith had put together. Out talented, outcoached, Indianapolis was surely caught in the throes of a depression that likely had them on the edge of throwing in the towel against Norv’s Chargers and getting a head start on planning for the next week’s game. I was there to find out how they managed to go on.I found Telesco, then Director of Player Personnel in Indianapolis at a local orphanage, speaking to the youngsters about what it takes to succeed in today’s fast paced world, where holding out a hand and asking for more isn’t always an option.
With a confidence born of experience I listened, enraptured as Telesco addressed the children. “Don’t think just because you’re horrible, filthy orphans with no parents that people are just going to hand you things in this life. They won’t. They’ll call you names like stupid orphans, filthy orphans, ugly orphans, orphans who can’t read and stinking, putrid orphans. And you will need to find a way to rise above being the horrible orphans that you are! Now I gotta get out of here, this place is digusting-don’t touch me!”Needless to say, I left that orphanage wondering if I wasn’t witnessing the birth of a new player in this modern NFL, pioneered by visionaries like the Chargers’ own AJ Smith. I asked AJ if he’d had the opportunity to ever speak with Telesco, and like the aloof John Wayne figure he is, AJ merely replied, “That’s for me to know, and for you to find out.”
Fast forward a few years,I bummed a ride with Telesco after his initial interview with the Chargers and as we sped down the parkway blasting Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" in his rented Lexus convertible, I felt a electrifying sensation I had not known in the weeks since it became apparent that AJ would be leaving. As we pulled up to a stop sign in Mission Beach-I wanted to point out some choice breaks to my new friend- a vagrant approached the car with a squeegee and a hand out- naturally! Without skipping a beat, my man Tommy T produced a can of industrial strength bear mace and fired a salvo directly in the hobo's filthy face, screaming "Get out of here, you damn bum!" It was then that I knew the Chargers had a special guy on their hands.
I called Dean immediately on the hotline-Dean’s private cell phone number that he guards with the temerity of a pit bull lording over a particularly juicy steak-and told him not to overlook this opportunity. I don’t pretend to have any influence whatsoever on the decisions of a figure like Dean Spanos, but I’d like to believe that my call at least prompted the mogul to take another look at his notes on Telesco.So here we are and Tom Telesco is the new General Manager for the San Diego Chargers. I feel confident that Telesco is capable of leading this team into the second greatest era in Chargers history. It’s unlikely the team will ever win a Superbowl. That ship sailed with AJ and Norv. But I expect Telesco's team to place very high in the AFC West many times in his reign at the helm. And in San Diego, knowledgeable football people know that competing for the division is the noblest of NFL causes.
I don’t expect the fans to understand the complexities involved in putting together a great football team. I’ll leave that to the football men. Men like AJ Smith. Men like Tom Telesco.