Regardless of where LaDainian Tomlinson winds up next season, there is a question about his toughness. He has had a significant injury in four out of the last five seasons.
In 2004 it was his groin. In 2005 it was his ribs. In 2007 it was his knee. In 2008 it was his toe and groin.
Let me get down to the bottom line here: You can't just be tough because you've decided to be mentally strong. Over the past four seasons, Tomlinson has only been hit in real games. He doesn't get hit in training camp, the preseason, or practice. The guys he is getting hit by are banging from training camp on.
It is physically impossible for a guy that doesn't get hit to be anywhere near as tough as a guy that is getting hit all the time. Impossible.
I was playing basketball against undefeated MMA fighter Ty Glover a couple of years ago, and I'm known as a tough guy. So when this little 175lbs guy came charging through the lane, I held my ground while everybody else parted like the Red Sea. We banged knees, after which he walked off the court feeling good and I was limping for two weeks.
I may have thought I was buff and tough, but Ty was used to getting banged on. He was tough.
There is only one way for LT to toughen up and that's by getting hit. To L.T.'s credit, he tried to get into the preseason only to be veto'd by head coach Norv Turner. Tomlinson shouldn't go overboard, but he should try to get more work in during the week so that he is a little tougher when the bodies start banging in live action.
Here's to hoping that L.T. comes back to the Chargers for another year.