San Diego Chargers president Dean Spanos recalled asking his personnel man whether or not a TCU running back named LaDainian Tomlinson was "any good." San Diego was considering Tomlinson with the fifth pick in the 2001 NFL Draft. Spanos acknowledged on Monday that he now was somewhat embarrassed to admit asking that question, as he introduced Tomlinson who was there to announce his retirement after one of the most productive careers for a running back in NFL history.
Tomlinson announced last week that he would retire, confirming speculation from earlier in the spring. He was in San Diego to sign a ceremonial contract that would allow him to retire as a member of the Chargers, where he played for nine years.
Through his nine seasons in San Diego and two more with the New York Jets, LT rushed for 13,684 yards and 145 touchdowns. He also accumulated 4,772 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns through his 11-year career. In 2006, Tomlinson set the NFL record for rushing touchdowns in a single season with 28. He earned the league's MVP award that season.
In reflecting on his long career, Tomlinson thanked everyone from the owners and coaches to the offensive linemen and the equipment managers he worked with over the years. He revealed in his remarks that he contacted Spanos several weeks ago to discuss the possibility of signing and retiring as a Charger, telling the television cameras "he always felt in his heart" that he was a Charger.
Even among the notoriously fickle Hall of Fame voters, LT has a pretty solid case to make for inclusion, first ballot inclusion.
You can see the archived version of Tomlinson's Monday press conference on the Chargers' website.
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