The pause before his reply may have been more telling than the running back's answer, the North County Times reported.
Do you want to come back?
"I can't tell you that right now," the 30-year-old Tomlinson said after a four-second pause.
After sprinting to the top of the Chargers' record books with 12,490 yards rushing -- good for eighth all-time in the NFL -- Tomlinson has become an afterthought in the Chargers' offense despite scoring more than 10 touchdowns for an NFL-record ninth straight season in 2009-10. Since topping out at 1,815 yards rushing and 28 touchdowns in 2006, his numbers have steadily decreased over the last three years, with his 730 yards rushing in 2009 marking his all-time low.
Due a $2 million roster bonus on March 1 and a $3 million salary next season if he isn't bought out for $1 million, Tomlinson's future with the Chargers -- who drafted him fifth overall in 2001 -- is clearly up in the air after back-to-back disappointing seasons.
"I've heard all the speculation," Tomlinson said. "But I'll tell you what: I've had a heck of a time here, and if it is [coming to an end], I've enjoyed the ride."