SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Chargers appear to be bracing their fans for the possibility that LaDainian Tomlinson’s brilliant eight-year run with the team could be over.
According to the team’s Web site, club president Dean Spanos called the star running back Thursday to discuss reports that the Chargers might part with Tomlinson, who has been slowed by injuries the last two postseasons and will count $8.8 million against the salary cap next year.
“We talked about the situation and I just tried to explain everything that must be considered,” Spanos said in a story detailing the off-season decisions the team must make. “I told him we haven’t even started our discussions and won’t for a while, so don’t jump to any conclusions. And I told him I would call him personally to make sure he’s aware of everything that’s going on.”
Tomlinson, the NFL MVP in 2006, missed the Chargers’ playoff loss at Pittsburgh last Sunday with a groin injury. That, coupled with the lowest rushing total of his career, has led to speculation that the team might try to trade or release L.T.
Tomlinson, who turns 30 in June, is under contract through 2011. Slowed by toe and groin injuries, Tomlinson gained a career-low 1,110 yards in 2008. Two seasons earlier, he set NFL records with 31 touchdowns – including 28 rushing – and 186 points.
The team declined to make Spanos available for further comment. Tomlinson didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Tomlinson hurt his groin in the regular-season finale against Denver on Dec. 28. He saw limited action in the Chargers’ win over the Colts and didn’t suit last week when the team lost to Pittsburgh.
After the Broncos’ game, the Chargers announced that Tomlinson had a strained groin. Reports surfaced the day of the playoff game against the Colts that Tomlinson had a detached tendon that connects one of his groin muscles to his pubic bone.
Four days later, Tomlinson – long the franchise’s most brutally honest employee – confirmed that he had a detached tendon.
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