The San Diego Chargers are one of several NFL teams hoping for a fresh start in 2013. The organization has taken several steps to make that happen. Of course, that started with the firing of the ineffective Norv Turner as head coach and bringing in former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy to lead the Bolts in a new direction.
However, McCoy, as an offensive mastermind, understands the type of ability former San Diego superstar LaDainian Tomlinson brought to the Chargers backfield. General manager Tom Telesco, for his part, understands that Tomlinson is still one of the most popular names in town.
Thus, with an eye to the future, both coach and GM glanced into the past and saw someone they figured could help the team get back into the playoffs.
That’s why, according to Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports, the Super-Chargers asked Tomlinson to suit up for his team for another season, even at the age of 33 and happily retired.
“I met (new general manager) Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy at the combine, and they asked me to come back and play,” Tomlinson said. “I saw (executive vice president) John Spanos at a restaurant in Indy, and he introduced me to them, and they brought it up. At first I thought they weren’t really serious, but they kept talking about it, and I realized it was real.
“They said, ‘You can come back and carry it 10 or 12 times a game. We’d like to have you here.’ “
While the prospect of big-time paychecks and another year in the spotlight would be intriguing to plenty of guys (Brett Favre, we’re looking in your direction), Tomlinson did not take long to straighten Telesco and McCoy out.
“No, because when I made the decision to walk away, I wrestled with it long and hard, and I knew it was final,” L.T. said. “Once I retired, that was it. My mind is in a different place. Mentally, going back would have been too hard.”
Tomlinson, presumably, has been playing football since before he could read. Finally retired, with his records at both his alma mater TCU and in the NFL forever in the books, another offseason spent killing himself in the weight room was not something he was mentally prepared to do.
Tomlinson had his proverbial cake in what was a long and successful playing career, and now it’s time for him to eat it, literally — as well as cheeseburgers, pizza and whatever else he wants, because he’s not on a football diet anymore.
Now the Chargers organization understands that as well, even though it would be a treat for Chargers fans to see LT in a Bolts jersey for one more year.