Multiple industry sources have told me that Tomlinson, in fact, was asked of his interest, was presented with an offer, and told Electronic Arts he was not interested. Tomlinson's turning down of Electronic Arts, we're told, doesn't have much to do with the highly-publicized curse, which has been attributed to the recent misfortune of Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb and Shaun Alexander. It has more to do with the fact that the people at Electronic Arts know that, for many, their cover is seen as the "Wheaties box endorsement" -- in that athletes are usually so honored they are willing to do it for less than market value. Tomlinson wasn't.LT is one of the highest profile players in the entire National Football League, and should be compensated as such. Seeing as how the game sells extremely well no matter who is on the cover, I guess EA felt it wasn't too important to try to get the best player in the NFL to grace the cover.
The deal usually pays the cover athlete $100,000 to $200,000 and requires multiple appearances to pump up the game. Since the Madden game sort of sells itself, the athlete on the cover doesn't really matter that much, but expect more NFL stars to turn down the cover in the future, not because of the curse, but because the price is just too low.
No matter; at least this way LT is saved from the Madden Curse and Charger fans everywhere can rest easy at night.