LaDainian Tomlinson Says He Won't Be Back With The Chargers
While his spectacular tenure with the San Diego Chargers very nearly came to an end before the season, LaDainian Tomlinson says he's definitely won't be back next season, saying: “I don’t believe I’ll be back in San Diego. I’ve accepted it.”
Chargers general manager A.J. Smith has a somewhat surly reputation and is known for not being sentimental about players who can no longer produce at a high level. After a second straight sub-par season, Tomlinson would seem to fit that bill.
This year, Tomlinson finished with less than 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career. Last year, he finished with less than 1,200 for the first time. He averaged less than four yards per carry each of the last two seasons.
Tomlinson is eighth on the NFL's all-time rushing leaders list and is third all-time in touchdowns. He could possibly move into the top five all-time in rushing, but needs about 1,200 yards to get there. At his current production levels, that would probably take him two seasons to get there.
If Tomlinson does leave San Diego, it's unclear what role he'd find. Several great backs have left their franchises at the end of the line in recent years — Emmit Smith to Arizona, Fred Taylor to New England, Shaun Alexander to Washington to name a few — and not seen much, if any, success. The market for running backs older than 30 with a lot of carries on their resumés is generally not a strong one.