After 11 seasons in the National Football League, former San Diego Chargers and New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson is set to retire. It was announced this morning that LT will re-sign a contract with the San Diego Chargers on Monday afternoon, and will retire as a Charger.
The retirement announcement is a surprise to no one. Tomlinson hinted that he was preparing to retire in May when he told SI’s Jim Trotter he was “95% retired” and that “it would take the right team/situation for him to play again.”
Tomlinson will make the announcement live at Chargers park on Monday, June 18th, 11:00am PT.
LT was drafted by the Chargers fifth overall in 2001, where he played for nine seasons before joining the New York Jets in 2010 as a free agent. He finished his NFL career with the Jets, playing two seasons.
He is currently the NFL’s fifth all-time leading rusher, and he accumulated a total of 162 regular season touchdowns in his career. Only Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith have scored more. LT also earned five Pro Bowl selections and one MVP award (2006).
After looking into it, I discovered that LT holds an absolutely absurd number of NFL records, including most points scored in a single season and the most games with 3+ rushing touchdowns. You can view them all on his Wikipedia page.
LT earned the Walter Peyton Man of the Year Award in 2006, the same season he won the MVP award. The Walter Peyton Award honors a player’s charity and volunteer work within the community, in addition to excellence in performance on the field. The following year, in 2007, LT won the Bart Starr award, presented to athletes who “exemplify outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.”
These awards speak to LT’s contributions as a player and person both on and off the field, and it is why he is so highly respected within the NFL community. He truly represented what it meant to “play like a Jet,” even in his two short seasons in New York.
It will take five years for LT to be eligible for the Hall of Fame, and there is little doubt that the running back will make it into Canton at some point. What’s a real shame is that a running back with a career as spectacular as Tomlinson’s will retire without a Super Bowl ring.
Given both his accomplishments on and off the field, as well as his charm and good looks, I have a sneaking suspicion that LT will have a very successful carrer on television. I look forward to it.