It would be more than a shame if the greatest football player San Diego has ever called their own would hang them up before becoming a champion. But that is the dilemma facing a frustrated Ladainian Tomlinson as he watches his opportunities fade each passing week. The San Diego Chargers entered the 2008 season with the highest of expectations; favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, the Bolts were supposed to be coasting towards the playoffs on the backs of the most talent roster in the NFL. And as one of the leagues most talented players, Tomlinson was supposed to be the catalyst that made the Chargers high-powered offense go.
Yet here we sit; only four wins under our belt and only six games to go. The offense is undergoing a change in identity as Norv Turner tries to win games through his quarterback Philip Rivers. LT has been reduced from MVP to role player. His opportunities are limited and the offense no longer runs through him. Even the fans are turning on #21, proving that pro football might be the ultimate "what have you done for me lately" sport.
Asked about a career possibly played in vain, Tomlinson responded with torturous words:
Each year is another season gone. I'll be the first one to tell you I am running out of time. I don't know how many more years I'm going to play. At this point, you just hope for the best. That's all I can really say about it. If things don't turn out they way they should this year, if we don't make it into the playoffs, you question 'what's next?' That's were I am right now.
Even though it might not seem like it these days, LT still has tremendous support from his fans, especially those who've suffered through losing season after losing season, with nothing to show for it. It's my sincere hope that Tomlinson comes back next year and I hope the fans show the guy lots of love as he goes through the most difficult portion of his stellar career.