Chargers president reaches out to LT

Updated: January 16, 2009, 3:16 PM ET
Associated Press

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 offseason 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 on 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 even release him.

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.

[+] EnlargeLaDainian Tomlinson
Scott A. Miller/US PRESSWIREThe Chargers' plans for LaDainian Tomlinson have yet to be discussed by the organization, team president Dean Spanos says.
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 started the wild-card playoff game against Indianapolis but came out after scoring a touchdown early in the second quarter. The Chargers went on to beat the Colts 23-17 in overtime, carried by Darren Sproles' 328 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner.

Tomlinson didn't suit up against Pittsburgh, which beat the Chargers 35-24 . The Steelers held Sproles, who'll become an unrestricted free agent, to 15 yards on 11 carries.

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 and practically scoffed at the team's public diagnosis.

"If it was a strain I'd be able to play with it, trust me," Tomlinson said. "A lot of guys have strains."

General manager A.J. Smith was livid that the severity of Tomlinson's injury was revealed and called out the player's camp.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press