LaDainian Tomlinson

LaDainian Tomlinson To Retire As A San Diego Charger

The San Diego Chargers drafted LaDainian Tomlinson in 2001 and on Monday, the future Hall of Fame running back will retire with the team.

Tomlinson plans to re-sign with the team so he can retire as a Charger, an act that has become rather commonplace in sports circles.

During nine seasons in San Diego, Tomlinson helped revitalize the franchise and set records in the process.

The 32-year-old Texas native ran for 12,490 yards and scored 138 touchdowns during his Charger career before signing with the New York Jets in 2010.

Overall, Tomlinson finished with 13,684 yards rushing, ranking fifth all-time. Meanwhile, only Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith scored more than Tomlinson’s 162 touchdowns.

His finest hour as a Charger came in 2006 when Tomlinson shattered the NFL single-season touchdown mark by scoring 31 times en route to being named the league’s Most Valuable Player.

To date, his ’06 season remains one of the greatest individual efforts in league history.

Ultimately, that season came to an end at the hands of LT’s greatest on-field nemesis, the New England Patriots.

Bill Belichick’s crew bumped Tomlinson’s Chargers from the playoffs during the ’06 and ’07 seasons, with the latter elimination coming in the AFC title game.

Those games proved to be a turning point during his Charger career.

Tomlinson scoffed at the Patriots following the ’06 playoff loss after some of the Patriots mocked teammate Shawne Merriman’s “Lights Out” dance while celebrating a victory.

As a part of his monologue, Tomlinson suggested that the Patriots’ lack of class came from their leader…Mr. Belichick.

Months later prior to a regular season meeting in New England and in the throws of Spygate, he took another shot at Belichick and the Patriots by saying “I think the Patriots actually live by the saying, ‘If you’re not cheatin, you’re not trying.’”

Darth Vader looks on longingly from the bench during the 2007 AFC title game.

The Patriots had the ultimate laugh on Tomlinson and the Chargers by defeating San Diego 21-12 in the AFC Championship.

During that same contest, LT sat powerless on the sideline after re-aggrevating a knee injury he suffered a week earlier in a playoff win over the Colts.

While he gained a measure of revenge over the Patriots in 2010 playoffs as a Jet, two more trips to the AFC title game resulted in defeat.

Even though Tomlinson never gained the ultimate team honor by winning a Super Bowl, Tomlinson will eventually be on his way to Canton as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Goodbye LT. It was a fun ride.

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