In a move that was expected to happen, the San Diego Chargers released five-time Pro Bowl running back LaDainian Tomlinson today after nine seasons with the team. It’s difficult to see this happen. You always hope a great player can stay with the team he started with. But in this case, LT is coming off two disappointing seasons. And with his lack of production and injury troubles (toe, groin, ankle) along with the fact he was due to make $5 million in 2010 (LT refused to take a pay cut), this makes perfect sense for the Bolts. In fact, it was really the only decision they could make.
LT says he wants to play for a team that has a chance to win a championship, but I don’t know if he can call the shots at this point. I understand he is a future Hall of Fame running back (thanks to his first seven seasons in San Diego), but I don’t think he has much gas left in his tank. He certainly won’t be any team’s feature back, so if he thinks he’s going to get $5 million for one season of football in another city, he’s dreaming. In fact, he’ll need to find some kind of fountain of youth just to be productive in a secondary role. I’ve commented many times before about the short shelf life at this position. Running backs get old (and are therefore easily replaced) in a hurry in the National Football League.