LT Will Retire As A Charger

LaDainian Tomlinson Will Finish His Career Where It Began

By Derek Togerson
|  Sunday, Jun 17, 2012  |  Updated 11:57 AM PDT
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Charger 'Til the End

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LaDainian Tomlinson will retire as a Charger, the way it should be.

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If you were to build a Mount Rushmore of the greatest San Diego Chargers of all time, there would be little room for discussion.

Lance Alworth, Dan Fouts, Junior Seau, and LaDainian Tomlinson are the faces you'd choose.

Now, all 4 of them are retired.

On Monday, LT will sign a 1-day contract with the Chargers, then immediately retire. It's the perfect way for one of the greatest offensive weapons in NFL history to end his career.

In 2001, the Chargers were coming off a 1-15 season, looking for any kind of hope or spark to revive the struggling franchise.

They traded the Draft's number 1 pick to Atlanta (which the Falcons used on Michael Vick) and ended up taking Tomlinson at number 5.

It worked out OK for San Diego.

Tomlinson is the NFL's 5th all-time leading rusher, and only Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith scored more touchdowns than LT.

His effect on the fans and city was tremendous. Even today, after playing two years in New York trying to win that elusive championship, Chargers fans wear their #21 jerseys to Qualcomm Stadium.

Tomlinson told me last month he's had a great career, and sometimes it's just not in the cards for a player to win a Super Bowl.

"And I'm OK with that," he said. "That's fine, because when I look in the mirror I know that I've done everything possible to give myself, and my team, the best opportunity to win a championship."

The official signing/retirement will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Monday. Right after that, the 5-year countdown to LT's Hall of Fame election begins, and he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

We haven't heard how much the 1-day deal will pay LT. But, I think $21 sounds like a bargain.

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