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Tomlinson happy he's still a Bolt

 San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson talks about his restructured contract that will keep him with the football team during a news con...
 San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson talks during a news conference after agreeing to a restructured contract contract that will keep ...

Chargers Tomlinson Football

San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson talks about his restructured contract that will keep him with the football team during a news con...

Chargers Tomlinson NFL Football

San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson talks during a news conference after agreeing to a restructured contract contract that will keep ...

San Diego Chargers president Dean Spanos seemed to have the best perspective on the saga surrounding star running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
"The alternative was just unthinkable. He belongs in San Diego," Spanos said after the Chargers and Tomlinson agreed to a reworked three-year deal late Tuesday.
The alternative, of course, would have been for him to be released had the sides not reached a deal. Even as talks dragged on and speculation mounted that the 2006 NFL MVP might be finished in San Diego, Tomlinson never envisioned joining another team.
"I still maintained the belief that I would be a Charger," Tomlinson said at a news conference on Wednesday. "They drafted me here and I've been here for eight years and loved every minute of it, and I just couldn't see myself putting on another uniform.
"That Charger uniform, that 21, with the bolt on the side of my helmet, that's pretty special."
Tomlinson said he's healthy after being slowed last season by toe and groin injuries, and was eager to prove that he's still explosive. He also reiterated that he'd like to pursue Emmitt Smith's all-time rushing record of 18,355 yards.
Tomlinson was slowed during the regular season with a toe injury, then hurt his groin in the season finale. He was forced out of an overtime playoff win against the Indianapolis Colts and sat out the playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the first game he'd missed due to injury in his brilliant career.
It was the second straight year his postseason was cut short by injury. That, coupled with the fact Tomlinson turns 30 this summer, raised questions about how long he would be a Charger. The team said it needed salary cap relief in order to sign other players to contract extensions, and it zeroed in on Tomlinson's deal.
While his 1,110 yards rushing were the lowest of his brilliant eight-year career, Tomlinson still finished fourth in the AFC and 10th in the NFL.
Tomlinson had been due $24 million during the next three seasons, including $6,725,000 in 2009. His salary cap number would have been $8.8 million in 2009, including a prorated share of the signing bonus from his 2004 contract. He said he'd only be taking a pay cut if he didn't produce what he was capable of, and released.
Tomlinson was voted the NFL MVP in 2006, when he set league records with 31 touchdowns _ 28 rushing _ and 186 points. He also won the first of two straight league rushing titles with a career-high 1,815 yards.
A five-time Pro Bowler, Tomlinson owns or shares 28 team records. The NFL's 14th all-time leading rusher with 11,760 yards, he ranks second all-time in rushing touchdowns (126) and is tied for fourth in total touchdowns (141).
He once spoke about retiring after his contract expired after the 2011 season. Now he's inspired to go after Smith's rushing record, which he estimates could take four to five seasons.
"I think that's something that I've just kind of got a new fire of saying, 'Why not?' If we're winning and winning championships, I do want to play as long as I can and walk away with all the records. That would be a heck of a challenge and I'm up for challenges. I'm certainly going to try to do it."


Updated : 2021-08-03 02:32 GMT+08:00