Running back LaDainian Tomlinson’s brilliant NFL career will officially end when he ceremoniously rejoins the San Diego Chargers for a day.
The San Diego Chargers said that Tomlinson, who was the NFL MVP in 2006 with San Diego and is the 5th-leading rusher in league history, will re-sign with the team and then announce his retirement. NFL odds
Tomlinson was written in the 1st round by San Diego in 2001 and became one of the most important stars in team history, helping reanimate the Chargers after the devastating Ryan Leaf years and turning them into a force in the AFC West. He spent the first 9 years of his career in San Diego. He played the last two seasons with the N.Y Jets.
Tomlinson won the MVP in ‘06, when he set NFL single-season records with 31 touchdowns, including 28 rushing, and 186 points. He ran for a career-high 1,815 yards that year, giving him the 1st of two straight league rushing titles.
The 5-time Pro Bowler finishes his career with 13,684 yards and 145 rushing touchdowns (2nd all-time). His 162 total touchdowns are 3rd-best in NFL history behind Jerry Rice (208) and Emmitt Smith (175).
Tomlinson said recently that he might continue his career if the right possibility was available. Some admirers was hoping the San Diego Chargers would bring back Tomlinson as a 3rd-down back, but that appeared impossible as long as managing director A.J. Smith was in control.
Tomlinson had a less-than-smooth separation from the Chargers. The slashing, dazzling runs came less frequently and Tomlinson was slowing down because of injuries and age. He became far less the face of the organization as his role was reduced in a pass-happy offense. The Chargers would have been on the hook for a $2 million registry bonus, along with a $5 million income.
A year before the Chargers released Tomlinson; Smith came under fire for mocking a declaration Tomlinson made about desiring to remain in San Diego.
Tomlinson’s squeaky-clean image took a hit in the AFC Championship Game loss at New England in January 2008. Forced out early with a sprained knee, Tomlinson watched glumly from the sideline, huddled in a parka and his face concealed behind the colored visor on his helmet.
The San Diego Chargers were less than truthful in giving an overly upbeat diagnosis regarding his injury in the game, exclaiming he had a “sore knee and can return.” That resulted in followers and commentators to ask his toughness.
Burned by that experience, Tomlinson — usually the most brutally honest employee in the Chargers’ organization — was forthright with the media when he sustained a rather serious groin injury in the 2008 regular-season culmination. Tomlinson’s honesty caused Smith to bristle.
That groin injury sidelined Tomlinson in a divisional-round playoff loss to Pittsburgh; the 1st time he missed a game due to injury in his pro career. He had been slowed earlier that season by a toe injury.
He ran for 914 yards in 2010 with the Jets, but carried only 75 times for 280 yards last season, playing often on passing downs.