LaDainian Tomlinson drew some inspiration from former Chargers teammate Junior Seau as he officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday.
“One thing I’ll remember was when Junior Seau retired, he stood up here and gave his speech and one thing that stood out to me was when he said, ‘I’m graduating today.’ That’s the way I look at it. I’ve been playing football for 20-some years. You sacrifice so much. You put it on the line mentally and physically with your body. Today, I take the words of Junior Seau. I feel like I’m graduating. I’ve got my life ahead of me. I’m healthy. I’m got my great family. I’m excited to be a fan and watch you all play.”
Tomlinson told a room filled with current and former Chargers that he had opportunities to keep playing in 2012, but chose not to pursue any of them. He explained the decision when he talked about the sacrifices of time away from his two young children and about the toll the passing years have taken on him.
“”Basically, I’m going to be 33 years old and quite frankly I feel like it’s just time. As a running back you try to continue to play at a high level. At 33 years old, it’s pretty difficult.”
Tomlinson pointed out that he made it through his entire career without ever having surgery and thanked the equipment managers for helping keep him out of the operating room. There were questions about possible comebacks and whether Tomlinson still had the fire to play as well. He said he thought he would always have the fire, but belied no traces of it as he ruled out the chance of another tour of duty down the line.