Sport Forum NET

Full Version: LT is not going back to the Chargers.
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
LaDainian Tomlinson spent a couple of weeks following the abrupt conclusion of the Chargers season reflecting, in prayer and meditation.

He has reached the stage of acceptance.

After a month of proclaiming he did not know what his future would be, the certain Hall of Famer said Thursday he knows he has played his last game as a Charger.

“I’m not coming back,” Tomlinson said. “I don’t believe I’ll be back in San Diego. I’ve accepted it.”

Tomlinson, who has two years remaining on his contract, said neither he nor his agent has spoken with the Chargers since the season ended. He has simply read the writing on the wall.

“I just felt like it was over,” Tomlinson said.

All that’s left now is for the breakup to become official, which likely won’t happen for a few weeks.

Tomlinson is due a $2 million roster bonus March 5 and would be paid $5 million in total salary in 2010. As part of the renegotiated contract he signed last March, he is guaranteed $1 million by the Chargers for next season.

Tomlinson said whenever the Chargers do let him go he will search for another team and will “definitely” play next season. The man whose 12,490 career rushing yards rank eighth in NFL history and whose 153 touchdowns rank third believes he can still be a productive rusher.

A trade is highly unlikely for two reasons.

First, any team interested in him would almost certainly not want to pay $5 million for a running back who will be 31 in June and who averaged 3.3 yards per carry in 2009. Also, sources said last year when the sides were reworking Tomlinson’s deal that the Chargers would not trade him out of respect. That is probably still the sentiment within the organization.

Reached out of town Thursday, General Manager A.J. Smith wouldn’t comment directly about Tomlinson’s situation.

“First of all, we haven’t even met on San Diego Chargers players for 2010,” Smith said. “We tentatively will make some decisions on the 4th or 5th of March, unless we have a directive from the league that tells us they’re pushing the date back.”

The 2010 league year begins at 12:01 a.m. EST March 5. With looming labor unrest, there is a possibility that date could be pushed back, but many league sources have said they consider such a move unlikely.

During Thursday’s phone interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune, Tomlinson spoke of his future and his past, pausing several times.

“It’s a mixed feeling,” he said. “It’s mixed emotions. I’ve spent nine years of my life here, pretty much my youth. I gave the organization everything I have. I enjoyed the community.

“But there is a part I won’t miss. The football part is fun. But the business part sucks. I won’t miss that.”

Tomlinson said he doesn’t know when the Chargers will release him. He said his agent might call the team to expedite the process.

Tomlinson also intimated why it’s time to move on, saying he felt “disconnected” from his teammates much of this past season.

“I felt like I wasn’t as close for whatever reason to what was going on,” he said.

Tomlinson held out as an example the fact that he did not know until later that receiver Vincent Jackson was pulled over by police a few hours before the Chargers’ Jan. 17 playoff loss to the New York Jets and cited for driving with a suspended license.

“I had no idea,” Tomlinson said. “I’m supposed to be a captain on the team. I could have gone over and said, ‘Bro, are you OK? You need to get it under control, get your head right for the game.’ ”

Tomlinson said he would have been told in the past if such a thing had happened.

Tomlinson also elaborated Thursday on a radio interview he gave earlier this week in which he questioned the team’s mentality, saying players were about themselves and not always focused on the whole. He did not back off and even stated some things stronger than he had previously.

He said there is a direct correlation between things that happen off the field — “nightclubs, stuff at people’s house having parties, stuff that gets out and is a distraction” — and the Chargers’ performance on the field.

Tomlinson said there are “great character guys” on the team but that a lack of focus by certain players contributed to the loss to the Jets, a game in which the Chargers committed numerous costly and uncharacteristic penalties.

“It makes a difference on how you react,” Tomlinson said. “Their focus was somewhere other than where it needed to be — on the field. We talked over and over about that. We had extra sessions on that as players. And then we go out and that stuff happens. So what else could it be?”

He also said there are players overly concerned about their contracts. A number of Chargers have been rewarded in past years with multiyear deals, but some of the team’s stars are without that security.

“That was a big focus,” Tomlinson said. “A lot of guys got the contracts. Guys see that other guys got paid and taken care of and they’re like, ‘Why ain’t nobody talking to me?’ It became a problem.”

Tomlinson said all season that he was happy, even in a diminished role. He explained Thursday why he kept his feelings inside until recently.

“There are certain things you can’t lash out about, especially when you’re winning,” he said.

The Chargers won 11 straight games to finish the regular season 13-3. Tomlinson reiterated his shock at the loss to the Jets but said he was concerned the underlying issue of focus would manifest at some point.

“I didn’t think it would show itself until we went up against a team like the Colts,” he said, referring to the AFC champions who are playing in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Still, he believes the Chargers are close to being a championship team.

“It’s just going to take a little more effort by guys,” he said. “I don’t think we realize how focused and how determined we’ve got to be if we want to get to the Super Bowl. … I don’t know what it is — growing up, dedication.”

Knowing he is not going to be in San Diego, he said he is speaking out for the good of the team.

“Hopefully,” Tomlinson said, “I leave some wisdom to the leaders that are left behind.”

Now the only question is who will take him. I think he'd make a good fit on the Houston Texans. Reason being is that they lack that running back to take them to the next level. Does he still have his skill? Probably not. Is he still a top 15 RB? Yes.