Tomlinson to retire with the Chargers

Tomlinson to retire with the Chargers
June 17, 2012, 5:20 pm
Share This Post

LaDainian Tomlinson's time in the NFL is up. One week away from his 33rd birthday, the free-agent running back has not found any suitors to play the 2012 season and he will now sign with the San Diego Chargers on a one-day contract to officially retire with the team that drafted him.

The Chargers will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. on Monday to announce Tomlinson's retirement.

It won't be a teary goodbye to LT here in New England. Over the course of his 11-year career -- nine with the Bolts and two with the Jets -- Tomlinson has been one of the Patriots' greatest rivals. Here's a rundown of how LT's relationship with the Pats has shaken out:

Patriots beat Tomlinson's Chargers in the 2007 Divisional round, 24-21. LT became so angry that he had to be restrained when he saw Patriots players dancing on the Chargers' midfield logo. The dance was done to mock then-Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman's "Lights Out" dance.

"I would never react in that way. I was very upset," Tomlinson said after the game. "That is disrespectful. They showed no class and maybe that comes from the head coach."

In 2008, New England beat LT and the Bolts, 21-12, to advance to their fourth Super Bowl in seven years. Tomlinson was injured for the game and carried the ball just twice. He famously hung on the sidelines wearing a parka and a helmet for most of the game.

In 2011, Tomlinson got some measure of redemption. He caught a touchdown from Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez as New York came into Foxboro to win the Divisional Playoff game with the Pats, 28-21.

Tomlinson visited the Dan Patrick Show in the days leading up to Super Bowl XLVI and was asked if he still hates the Patriots.

"I don't hate them," Tomlinson said. "When we were between those lines, they were the team that always kept my teams from getting to where we wanted to go and win a championship."

Hypothetically, could he ever put aside the hate to sign a deal with the Patriots?

"I think that would be ... uh ... that would be ... obviously I would be tempted because Tom Brady's there and I would love to play with him," Tomlinson told Patrick. "I just think probably at this point it would be a stretch."

Tomlinson leaves the NFL as one of the greatest backs in the history of the game and very likely a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He's fifth all time in rushing yards, second in rushing touchdowns and he set the single-season record for rushing TDs with 28 in 2006.

The only thing missing from his long list of achievements in the league is a Super Bowl title. For that, in part, he has the Patriots to thank.