Chargers approached LaDainian Tomlinson about 2013 return

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Running back LaDainian Tomlinson did not have a good relationship with former Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith, something that helped preclude a last hurrah with the team before Tomlinson retired last year.

There’s a new regime in San Diego now and it apparently comes with a more open mind about Tomlinson wearing a lightning bolt on his helmet. Tomlinson told Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports that the team contacted him about pausing his retirement for a return to the Chargers for the 2013 season.

“I met [General Manager] Tom Telesco and [coach] Mike McCoy at the combine, and they asked me to come back and play,” Tomlinson said. “I saw [executive vice president] John Spanos at a restaurant in Indy, and he introduced me to them, and they brought it up. At first I thought they weren’t really serious, but they kept talking about it, and I realized it was real. They said, ‘You can come back and carry it 10 or 12 times a game. We’d like to have you here.'”

Tomlinson appreciated the offer, but decided to pass on the chance to get back on the football field.

“No, because when I made the decision to walk away, I wrestled with it long and hard, and I knew it was final. Once I retired, that was it. My mind is in a different place. Mentally, going back would have been too hard.”

A desire to give the 33-year-old Tomlinson 10-12 touches a game suggests that the Chargers would like to lessen Ryan Mathews’ workload. They signed Danny Woodhead as a free agent, but didn’t add any other help at running back with their six selections in the draft.

39 responses to “Chargers approached LaDainian Tomlinson about 2013 return

  1. Man do we need the help tho 21, I would love to see you carry the rock in the blue and gold again, however I think your making the right choice. We as charger fans appreciate the good and the bad, your talents won’t be forgotten… ( it’s hard to forget when your current RB can’t get it right) and you still hold single season td record for RB, Mans game LT.

  2. LT was great in the day but he’s a 33 year old running back. Why wouldn’t the Bolts draft a RB or try to find a better (younger) alternative in free agency? It makes me think the new management crew is as clueless as the last

  3. Chargers just trying to sell player jerseys to offset the huge losses at the ticket window last season and projected losses this up coming year. The Teo pick was the owners pick because of this, not because he was best player available

  4. It’d be funny if LaDainian Tomlinson created a character similar to Leon Sandcastle and became a walk-on for the chargers training camp this year. We can call him, LaDamian Thomason. At age 33, I’m taking LaDamian Thomason to beat out Mathews and Woodhead easily.

  5. LT with the Chargers would have been awesome. Much respect to the Charger organization, for realizing their business mistake, and trying to get the guy back where he belonged. Wearing the powder blue and thunder bolt. Not many teams can try and fix their mistakes they make, that affect the community and fanbase.

  6. This is quite strange they’d ask him to come back actually to play at this point. He was one of the best in his prime, no doubt but a bunch of RBs could come in and give them 10-12 carries and produce better at this point than a guy who was drafted in 2001. I could get their wanting him to mentor guys, but he doesn’t have to come back to play to do that.

  7. He was one of the best in his prime, no doubt. But I find it strange that they would want a RB, one of the most fungible of all positions, to come back and play at his age after having been out of the game for awhile as well. He doesn’t have to come back and play to mentor guys.

  8. Maybe they could offer him one of those “1 day” contracts to retire as a Charger, and slip “1 year” into the fine print.

  9. The Chargers have no stars or pro bowl players on the team. AJ ran them all off. McCoy is trying to find a way to get this team back to the spotlight. AJ Smith destroyed the Chargers and the Spanos kept him too long. Turner would have had more success if AJ was worth a darn. Drafting Te’o is a step to turning things around.

  10. I loved LT as a Charger. Have several of his jerseys too. Even have one that was passed from one son to the other. I was there when he broke the TD record.

    But it was clear when he didn’t have “it” any more. He wasn’t hitting the holes in the line like he once did. Wasn’t catching the ball as well as he did in the past. When he went to the Jets, he showed a little spark but not much else.

    He knew when to call it a career. And he still knows that too. Hardest thing to accept is to know when to walk away.

    When he goes to Canton, me and my boys will be there wearing our LT jerseys.

  11. I never cared much for LT, but I respect his decision here. He was a good back for the Chargers and an average back for the Jets. This move makes the Chargers look VERY desperate. Do you mean to tell me there isn’t a much younger FA or guy in the later rounds of the draft??

  12. But with that said, I like LT just fine, great player.

    I like the gesture by SD, and the fact it was probably very serious.

    But people should stop falling over themselves to praise him like he did everything right.

  13. @Bronco24

    Thanks for the tip. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for him. Rushing for 2,168 yards last season tells me that he’s quick, elusive, tough and has great vision albeit against mostly inferior talent.

    However, if he makes the team and lines up in the backfield with Danny Woodhead, they would have two D II RBs on the field at the same time – a rarity, indeed.

  14. Lt should take the offer…10 to 12 carries a game is perfect for his age since he’s doubting his self…I grew up watching LT run holes into that field…you missed two championship opportunities to get us to the Super Bowl …YOU OWE NOT ONLY US FANS BUT YOUR SELF A SUPER BOWL RING ….LETS GO

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