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LaDainian Tomlinson Retires as a San Diego Charger

Tomlinson, the NFL's 5th all-time leading rusher, will retire as a Charger

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    NEWSLETTERS

    LaDainian Tomlinson, one of the greatest San Diego Chargers of all time, retired as a Charger Monday.

    "LT" signed a one-day contract with the Bolts, then immediately retired.

    LT Thanks Family During Retirement Announcement

    [DGO] LT Thanks Family During Retirement Announcement
    LaDainian Tomlinson, one of the greatest San Diego Chargers players to ever play on the team, retired as a charger after signing a one day contract with the Bolts. He recalled the words of the late Junior Seau in saying he felt as though he was graduating. (Published Monday, Jun 18, 2012)

    “I take the words of Junior Seau, I feel like I’m graduating,” Tomlinson said recalling the moment the late Chargers linebacker retired from football in August 2006. “I’m excited to now be a fan and watch you guys play.”

    Tomlinson and Chargers President Dean Spanos signed a symbolic contract and posed for pictures with a #21 jersey at an NFL event Monday.

    LT to Retire a Charger

    [DGO] LT to Retire a Charger
    Sports reporter Derek Togerson was live at Chargers Park just moments after LaDainian Tomlinson signed a day-long contract with the Chargers so that he could retire as a Charger. (Published Monday, Jun 18, 2012)

    Tomlinson thanked coaches and teammates over the years including quarterbacks Drew Brees and Philip Rivers.

    “My offensive line, I always felt like they were my best friends,” he said continuing on to thank even equipment managers as among those allowing him to perform at his best.

    Tomlinson was accompanied by his mother, his wife LaTorsha and their two children Daylen, 2, and Dayah, 9 months.

    “There were many times on a tough loss that I would call my mom and she always made me feel better about the situation,” Tomlinson said.

    Tearful L.T. Thanks San Diego

    [DGO] Tearful L.T. Thanks San Diego
    A former Chargers star reached out to fans on Wednesday. (Published Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010)

    As for his wife, LaTorsha, who he has been with since college, Tomlinson said she encouraged him while keeping the NFL MVP humble recalling how she would tell him “’You still my husband and you still got chores to do at home, you still got kids,’” he said. "All that puts it in perspective.”

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

    Tomlinson: Ready to Retire

    [DGO] Tomlinson: Ready to Retire
    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. (Published Monday, Jun 18, 2012)

    His effect on the fans and city was tremendous.

    “Fewer players have played a bigger role or meant more to this team and city than LT,” said Chargers President Dean Spanos.

    Even today, after playing two years in New York trying to win that elusive championship, Chargers fans wear their #21 jerseys to Qualcomm Stadium.

    “There is only one name that belongs on a #21 jersey,” Spanos said. “Of course, this will all be celebrated in due time.”

    Tomlinson told NBCSanDiego 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. Watch video here

    "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."

    Immediately following his retirement, the 5-year countdown to LT's Hall of Fame election begins, and he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

    Let us know what you think. Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @nbcsandiego or add your comment to our Facebook page.