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?