The Idea Of Tomlinson Not Playing For The Chargers Next Season Is Ridiculous

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It's hard to swallow - the thought that so many Chargers fans are beginning to turn on the best player to ever play for our team. And equally shocking is the fact that so many among the media are content to fan the flames of what should only be a campfire, but instead has grown out of control like wildfire.

Yes Tomlinson is nearing 30 years old. Yes LT had a down season last year. But have people really forgotten what Ladainian Tomlinson means to the San Diego Chargers? Are football fans that fickle? Or are these blasphemies coming from new fans who simply don't understand and don't respect what LT has meant to this organization?

People have so quickly forgotten what LT has meant to the San Diego community, and what he has done to change the perception of the San Diego Chargers. He's done so much for the game, and yet his bandwagon is darn near empty. How many Tomlinson jersey's have been sold over the past 8 years? How many local San Diego business has Tomlinson been a spokesperson for? How many 'oohs' and 'aahs' has he provided for Charger fans?

For years, all we had to look forward to on Sundays was watching #21 run the ball. It was but a handful of seasons ago that the only Chargers highlights they would show on ESPN was of Tomlinson's brilliance. We weren't the San Diego Chargers, we were the San Diego Tomlinsons.

And yet here we are, having discussions that don't even need to take place, arguging whether or not the San Diego Chargers should trade or release LT.

I'm not privy to anything the front office is think of. I read the news just like everyone else. But I willing to go on record and say LT will be a Charger next season. But I think this will be his last year in the NFL.

The window is almost shut for the Bolts' chance for a Super Bowl. They have Shawne Merriman for one more season. They are also likely to lose some good players over the next couple of seasons in free agency. LT knows this, just like we know this. He wants a Championship just like we all do. Next year will probably be his last opportunity to play in a Super Bowl. And the Chargers know that if they are to get to the Super Bowl, they'll need a healthy Ladainian Tomlinson on the roster.

Will he have 300 carries like in years past? No. But he will share time with other backs and he will still contribute to this offense. Will LT ever be league MVP again? I don't think so. Will he lead the NFL in rushing next year? Not likely. But his leadership, his ability, and his presence both in the locker room and on the field are immeasurable. And the Chargers know this.

Future Hall-of-Famer John Lynch knows a little something about playing, quote-unquote, past his prime, and he cautions fans to not turn their back so quickly on such a remarkable player (and person) as Ladainian Tomlinson:

LT is one of the greats that has ever played. Maybe his best days, the height of his career is behind him, but this is a special, special player. I think he's a guy who got hurt early in the season; you talk about a toe injury, a foot injury for a running back, that's catastrophic for you. You can't cut with the way you are familiar with cutting, and you can't do the things you're used to doing.

I still think this guy is a special, special player. You look at when the Chargers were at their best; it was with LT and Michael Turner together. And I know you've got to get Sproles on the field but I think this is very much becoming a league where a lot of the best teams feature a couple of guys at that position.

I think it would be premature and foolish to be with too hasty with getting rid of him. He's still a special, special player. I think that it's easy to forget sometimes, but this guy is one of the best ever, and I think he still has a lot of mileage left in him.

What side of the fence do you sit? Should Tomlinson stay, or is his time up in San Diego?

January 19, 2009

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Anonymous said... Jan 20, 2009, 2:44:00 AM

I forsee a hard core die hard mexican charger fan holding up Spanos when he loads his groceries at a Costcos parking lot..threatening him if he trades LT. lol.

Anonymous said... Jan 20, 2009, 2:45:00 AM

Spanos & AJ..if you trade LT..i better not catch you sleeping coz ill punch you square in the face!

Joe Fiorentino said... Jan 20, 2009, 8:19:00 AM

Rob, what does his past performance have anything to do with his future?? The numbers don't lie. He peaked in 06 and since then has been on the decline. Look at Shaun Alexander who peaked in 05, then fell off a cliff the next 2 seasons. That was painful to watch. An LT did us no favors by playing injured at the start of the season. Its obvious that his best days are behind him. So we draft Beanie Wells if we can and move on. Keep Sproles around and we'll have our own flash and thunder.

Bottom line, its going to come down to money. We cant pay Sproles, Rivers, Tomlinson plus a first round RB. Somethings going to give.

Rob Zepeda said... Jan 20, 2009, 9:09:00 AM

We have more pressing needs at Safety, Offensive Line, and Defensive Line right now. Spending a first round pick on a running back and hoping you don't draft another Willis McGahee is a risk I'm not willing to take. LT will be back next season, and we'll hopefully draft someone this year to share the load with him.

Its my firm belief that the Chargers will take the best defensive player available; OLB Brian Orakpo (prepares us for life without Merriman), ILB Rey Maualuga (the defense needs an impact player), DB Malcolm Jenkins (could play corner or free) S William Moore (the anti-Clinton Hart)

Anonymous said... Jan 20, 2009, 9:23:00 AM

I completely agree. This should not even be an issue because LT presents the perfect scenario for the front office. There is no way he plays past his current contract, so it's not like you are faced with determining how much you should pay him to not lose him in free agency. Honor his contract. You'll get one, maybe two, maybe three years and then he can retire as the greatest Charger ever. For doing so, you keep the best all-around back in the league (he still is when he's healthy) on your squad.

Joe Fiorentino said... Jan 20, 2009, 11:21:00 AM

So then why the meeting? If you have no doubt a guy is going to be back next season, what could they possibly talk about? It sure wasnt "Hey, great work this season, thanks for coming in, we'll see you next season." Its more like "Thanks for coming in, just a heads up, we're looking at drafting a 1st rd RB this year" or "We need you to restructure your contract" or "How do you feel about being traded?"

Comedy. How many more years of "Whats wrong with LT?" do we want to go through?

No doubt, he had some great years, but how exactly does that help the team going forward?

Anonymous said... Jan 20, 2009, 12:24:00 PM

We need to resign Merriman god damn. Eben Britton OT,BJ Raji DT, Fili Moala DT/DE, Rey Maualuga ILB, or Tyson Jackson DE are the only 1st round choices that would be smart picks. A running back is stupid. Moreno or Wells are not can't misses and there isn't a lot of RBs available until 2010. Keep LT for one more year would be the smarter move if he shows he is done then we gave him a chance if not then good. Win win either way and LT still has a last ditch shot at a ring.

Anonymous said... Jan 20, 2009, 1:13:00 PM

I agree we dont have the money to keep everyone here forever. shoot if we don't create some cap room we wont have enough to sign the two most important players on this roster in the next couple years. PHILIP RIVERS and SHAWN MERRIMAN!!! However, as far as next season, we can keep LT, sign Sproles and try to find some defensive talent in the draft. There will NOT be a running back worth hanging our hat on in this draft. maybe next years draft. if LT has a good year we can honor one more year of his remaining three, if not, trade him to get a draft pick in NEXT year's draft and look for a running back. LT has been injured, LT is going to be 30 next season, but he wont get the 300 carry load next season with the emergence of Sproles and this dynamic passing game. If he can stay healthy there is no reason why he wont score more touchdowns than any back in the league next season. Not a rushing title, not an MVP, he wont have the big number of touches or be the only one to carry this team. but he's got those recognitions already. Im talking about staying healthy, being able to get us into the ENDZONE for 7 when we're inside the 30 yrd line. That LT is more than capable of doing. and with our threats in the passing game and if our defense can play up to their capability(with Merriman), we will find ourselves inside the 30 A LOT. This alone could be the difference between squeaking into the playoffs and running outta gas in the divisional round or AFC Championship, and being good enough to beat everyone on the way to the Superbowl. We need help at the safety spot, we need a DE/DT, we need a RT, but we don't need to burn LT in the off season to find out if he can still play. and AJ SMITH is smarter than that regardless of what he thinks of tom condon!

Rob Zepeda said... Jan 20, 2009, 1:18:00 PM

I wish you guys would use names so I can give you props personally! To the guy above me:

You make some solid points. LT is deadly in the 'Gold Zone' Just when he was getting healthy and playing well, he got his groin jacked up. Lets give him a chance to fully recover and let him play next year, splitting carries and catches with the other weapons on this team. LT can still be effective and we don't have to waste a top pick on running back when we need to get more physical on defense and on the O-Line.

ClintW said... Jan 20, 2009, 4:57:00 PM

I've been a die-hard Charger since they moved down from LA in the early sixties. I've seen them come and go, but I've never seen anyone like LT, except maybe Dan Fouts, and the front office had the good sense to let him retire a Charger. If the let LT go for any reason, it will be a crime. They let Jr. Seau and Rodney go to soon by several years I hope they don't make the same mistake here. I like Sproles, but I don't believe he is LT's replacement. I'm all in favor of letting LT have a chance to get healthy and play, he can do it.

Anonymous said... Jan 20, 2009, 7:51:00 PM

Honestly, Losing LT will mean that the Chargers have given up. LT transformed the team and still did even while being hurt. He is great for the community and as well as being the most gifted athlete on the field TODAY! He was hurt and still got over 1000 yards rushing. I kinda dont but I remember when we went 4-12 and no playoffs. LT system has worked and i believe we can do better tommrow

Anonymous said... Jan 20, 2009, 7:59:00 PM

I would not take Chris Wells in the draft but instead Rey Maualuga
Imagine having Merriman, Cooper, Maualuga, and Philips... damnnn
Julius Peppers is also up for grabs and he would do great alongside Merriman

Anonymous said... Jan 21, 2009, 6:54:00 AM

bottom line this team has done this before; Rodney Harrison, Drew Brees, this is the chargers thinking because of a small injury and age that L.T. is washed up. well look at Brees and Harrison. so go ahead get rid of L.T. i will follow where he goes because i wont be a charger fan anymore.

Luis said... Jan 23, 2009, 5:24:00 AM

I still cant believe how people are talking about letting him go. He had a down year? playing behind a mediocre Oline and hurt most of the season he still ends up with 1100+ yards. Obviously hes past his prime, but still is a 1000+ yards runner and still is a great receiving back, so please stop comparing him to Alexander or any other "regular" back, hes above them all.

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