Once a Charger always a Charger, at least according to LaDainian Tomlinson, who officially called it a career Monday after signing a one-day deal with San Diego so he could retire with the team that drafted fifth overall in the 2001 NFL Draft.
Tomlinson leaves behind a stellar resume that includes a league MVP selection in 2006, two NFL rushing titles in both the 2006 and 2007 seasons, and five consecutive Pro Bowl selections from 2002 through 2007.
In his eleven career Tomlinson totaled 13,684 rushing yards, which ranks him fifth all-time behind Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Curtis Martin.
His 145 rushing touchdowns is also the second-highest total in NFL history, and his is 162 total touchdowns are third-best in NFL history behind only Jerry Rice (208) and Emmitt Smith (175).
Tomlinson’s retirement as a Charger could have never happened after his handling by the team in his last several seasons.
He was released unceremoniously after the 2009 season, in which he rushed for a career low 730 yards, after the team began to phase him out as the primary offensive weapon.
There were also several notable spats between Tomlinson and Chargers GM A.J. Smith.
Set on proving the Chargers wrong, LaDainian would sign with the New York Jets where he would fill the role of a third-down running back.
Tomlinson rushed for 914 yards with the Jets in 2010, but only 280 yards in 2011, and while he found moderate success he never really fit with the Jets.
But the two sides put their differences aside long enough for him to retire with the Chargers after all.
His career is certainly Hall of Fame worthy. During his prime he was simply unstoppable, electric, and as good or better than the greats before him.
First ballot Hall of Fame selection? Probably, yes.