LaDainian Tomlinson was released today by the San Diego Chargers.
A nine-year run that created a lifetime of memories for bothTomlinson and fans of the San Diego Chargers is officially over. This leaves Tomlinson the opportunity to catch on with another franchise.
“This is a part of the business that I hate, and it’s particularly hard when you’re dealing with someone I consider a friend,” said team president Dean Spanos in a statement following a meeting with Tomlinson. “Change involving great players is never easy. I respect LT as much or more than any player I’ve ever known. And no one appreciates his contributions to this organization more than I do. That is why this is such a difficult announcement for me to make.
“It has been a privilege to work with him and witness his entire career. I’m proud of him and grateful to him for the way he has carried himself both on and off the field.
According to Spanos, no matter where Tomlinson decides to continue his career in his mind LT will always be a San Diego Charger. “His legacy as one of the greatest running backs the game has ever seen will be as a Charger.”
The Chargers opted to move back in the first round of the 2001 draft, passing on the option to take Virginia Tech QB Michael Vick, to select Tomlinson, who tied or establishes 28 Chargers records, fifth overall out of TCU.
No running back ran for more than L.T.’s 12,490 yards in the decade. His 153 total TDs are behind only newly elected Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Tomlinson’s idol, Emmitt Smith. Tomlinson won the 2006 MVP after setting an NFL single-season record with 31 touchdowns.
This past season was a different story, however, as he rushed for a career-low 730 yards in 2009 — the only season of his career when he did not reach the 1,000-yard plateau.
“L.T. is a true pro,” added coach Norv Turner in comments to the media. “He’s one of the greatest runners this game has ever seen and words can’t do justice to the things he’s accomplished on and off the field.”
Tomlinson was also a force off the field, as he and Saints QB Drew Brees shared the NFL’s 2006 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.
LT, like Junior Seau, will always be remembered as a San Diego Charger.
The question now is where will number 21 suit up next season, assuming he still feels he has something left?
In my mind, LT does have some gas left in the tank.
To see more about Tomlinson from our TCU Examiner, visit: www.aerochug.com/x-24598-TCU-Horned-Frogs-Examiner