SAN DIEGO (AP) – LaDainian Tomlinson’s brilliant NFL career will officially end when he ceremoniously rejoins the San Diego Chargers for a day.
The Chargers said Sunday that Tomlinson, who was the NFL MVP in 2006 with San Diego and is the fifth-leading rusher in league history, will re-sign with the team on Monday and then announce his retirement.
Tomlinson was drafted in the first round by San Diego in 2001 and became one of the biggest stars in team history, helping revive the Chargers after the devastating Ryan Leaf years and turning them into a force in the AFC West. He spent the first nine years of his career in San Diego. He played the last two seasons with the New York Jets.
Tomlinson won the MVP in ’06, when he set NFL single-season records with 31 touchdowns, including 28 rushing, and 186 points. He ran for a career-high 1,815 yards that year, giving him the first of two straight league rushing titles.
Tomlinson finishes his career with 13,684 yards and 145 touchdowns.
Tomlinson spoke at the public memorial service for Junior Seau on May 11, drawing the biggest cheers of the night.
Perhaps his most memorable moment with the Chargers came on Dec. 10, 2006, when he swept into the end zone late in a game against the Denver Broncos for his third touchdown of the afternoon to break Shaun Alexander’s year-old record of 28 touchdowns.
His linemen hoisted him onto their shoulders and carried him toward the sideline, with Tomlinson holding the ball high in his right hand and waving his left index finger, while the fans chanted “L.T.! L.T.!” and “MVP! MVP!”
When the Chargers released him in February 2010, quarterback Philip Rivers said: “I had the best view in the house on some of those awesome runs he made.”
Tomlinson had said recently that he might continue his career if the right opportunity was available. Some fans hoped the Chargers would bring back Tomlinson as a third-down back, but that appeared impossible as long as general manager A.J. Smith was in control.