LaDainian Tomlinson May Have Played his Final Game in a Chargers Uniform But it’s not Because He’s Ready to Retire

January 25, 2010 – 9:25 am by Chris Fedor

Ever since he came into the NFL in 2001, LaDainian Tomlinson has been one of the most productive running backs in NFL history. Whether it’s running the ball, catching the ball out of the backfield or scoring touchdowns, LDT is right near the top of all the running back lists. His career in San Diego has been tremendous, but his resume is missing something: a Super Bowl Championship. For the past couple of years, the Chargers have been one of the best teams in the NFL in the regular season. They have tallied a number of wins and have a number of postseason appearances, but they just can’t get over the hump and get past the AFC Championship game.

This past season was statistically the worst season of Tomlinson’s career and he has seen his role in the Chargers offense diminish since Norv Turner took over and it became Philip Rivers’ team. Because of that, there are thoughts that Tomlinson may have played his last game in a Chargers uniform against the Jets last weekend. I hope Tomlinson gets to finish his career where he started it, but if he does indeed move on to another team in the off-season, Tomlinson will be back in search of the elusive Championship that continues to drive him.

LaDainian Tomlinson joined XX Sports Radio in San Diego with Darren Smith to talk about the loss to the Jets in the playoffs, whether or not he thinks he played his last game in a Chargers uniform, whether or not retirement is an option for his at this point in his career, and his relationship with Norv Turner.

On how he felt this past week after being eliminated from the playoffs early again:

“One of the toughest weeks that I’ve been thought. Just the disappointment that you go through and only time will heal us of how we feel right now.”

On the defense of the Jets in the playoff game:

“I tend to give the opponent the most credit because they had a lot to do with the way we played. It’s obvious, we haven’t played like that all year long and to play like that on the number one defense in football, I attribute that to what they did.”

On whether the feeling of this loss was similar to their other early exits recently in the playoffs:

“Not necessarily. I don’t think it is. You feel the same way. You play the game in your mind and you feel terrible because like I said you have to wait a long time to get back on the football field. It’s pretty much the same, but I think this one is maybe a little bit harder to deal with because I felt like this was the best opportunity on this team that I had to win a championship and I felt like this was the best team that I’ve been on.”

On whether or not he played his last game in a Chargers uniform:

“At the time I didn’t allow myself to think about it. Obviously after the game, I have thought about it and it could very well be.”

“I can’t really answer that right now just to be fair about it. I need to give myself a little bit more time to be able to really say. (Host: Sooner rather than later?) Absolutely sooner than later. But at this time, I’m not at a position where I can say.”

On his diminished role with the team:

“I did the things that I could with this year’s team. I felt that every year, whatever this team needed me to do, I gave my heart and soul to it. Whether it was giving me the ball 350 times and giving it to me another 50 to 75 times catching the ball, I played my heart and soul out for this team. This year, I wasn’t asked to do that type of stuff. My numbers were as low as they have ever been. I felt like I did what I could with this team.”

On whether or not he is happy with his role in the Chargers offense:

“No I wasn’t. I wasn’t happy. No one is going to be happy with the least amount of touches in my career. I don’t know any running back that would be happy with that. Absolutely I wasn’t happy with not touching the ball as much as I thought I would.”

On whether or not he has had conversations with Norv Turner on his role in the offense:

“Yeah, we had conversations about it. This has been going on two years so absolutely we have had conversations about it.”

On whether or not he’s ready for retirement:

“No. I’m not ready to retire. I still love the game. I still have a lot of passion for the game and feel like I can contribute to it. Not at this time.”

On what would be his motivation for coming back to the NFL:

“Still chasing after the dream of winning a championship. That’s the number one goal. You put your body through a lot to play this game but you want to be able to win a championship at some point and be able to feel what it feels like to hold that trophy.”

On what he thinks contributed to the issues in the running game:

“Well, I won’t ever throw anybody under the bus. I’m always gonna stand up and take responsibility for situations and I felt like I coulda did a lot better this year even with what I had. I think it speaks to itself just us period, no matter who was running the ball this year, the kinda success that we had really wasn’t there. (Host: the commitment to running wasn’t there?) Not all the time it wasn’t. Obviously there were times where we had to commit to the run. Obviously the end of the Dallas game when we committed to it, but there was certain times when no we didn’t. We went with what we knew and what we were winning with. Which was throwing the football.”

On his relationship with Norv Turner:

“We have a good working relationship. He’s the boss and I play for him and try my best for him.”

Listen to LaDainian Tomlinson with Darren Smith on XX Sports Radio in San Diego here

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