Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson talks with NBC 7's Derek Togerson about retiring without a "Super Bowl moment" in this exclusive interview recorded in May 2012.
When you ask Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson what he’ll be doing when training camps start up in July, he’s pretty sure he won’t be playing football.
Recently, the former San Diego Charger said he’s currently about 95-percent retired.
While in San Diego last weekend for the Palomar Pomerado Health "Night of Nights" gala, Tomlinson said that feeling is growing.
“It’s probably 96-percent now,” he said laughing.
One of the greats in the NFL, currently fifth in career rushing yards, second in rushing touchdowns and third in total touchdowns, may retire without having played in a Super Bowl.
“Sometimes it’s just not in the cards for everybody to win a Super Bowl or even play in a Super Bowl,” he said.
Had he won a Super Bowl while was in San Diego, he would have retired a Charger. His last two years with the New York Jets was because of that desire to play for a ring.
Now, however, he says, “Maybe it’s not in the cards for me to win it and I’m okay with that.“
He’s talked with former pros who tell him he’ll miss the game.
Fall will come around, they tell him, and his body will know what time it is and he’ll miss playing.
LT said you’ve got to put it in perspective.
With everything the NFL is going through regarding head injuries, the death of his friend former Chargers linebacker Junior Seau, the retirement of another friend Kris Dielman, LT is able to see the big picture.
“I’ve been fortunate,” he said. “I’ve never had a surgery. I’ve never had a concussion. Not everybody can say that.”
“Playing as a running back, you take that risk every single play of a head injury, blowing out your knee, a serious injury,” he said. “I don’t want to take that risk at this point. I really want to be there to play with my kids.”
The Tomlinsons now have a boy and a girl and for LT, playing with them seems more appealing than playing against, say, Ray Lewis.
“I’m really not thinking about football to be honest with you. I’m kinda in another place; kinda in that ‘daddy mode’, that next part of my life mode,” Tomlinson said.
Tomlinson may be holding back from the official retirement because July is not far off.
When training camps get started, football players tend to get restless.
Only time will tell if Tomlinson will return to the game.
“When I look in the mirror, I’ve done everything possible to make, get myself the best opportunity and my team to get to the championship,” LT said.