Winners and Losers of Week 3

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Ryan Mathews: 5 Things That Would Make for a Successful Season

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Ryan Mathews: 5 Things That Would Make for a Successful Season
Bart Young/Getty Images

With LaDainian Tomlinson returning to San Diego last week to retire as a Charger, a circle has finally closed. I’m not only referring to LT’s career, but also to the awkward two-year arc of his departure from San Diego.

After a second straight postseason cut short due to injury, LaDainian almost left in 2009.

But Dean Spanos and AJ Smith were able to put together a one-year deal with a "balloon payment" that served more like a time bomb. That’s why there was almost no chance that he would return beyond the ‘09 season. After 11 consecutive wins to close out the year, everything was set up for a march to long-awaited glory and that ride off into the sunset.

But another January meltdown of interceptions, head butts and missed field goals ended that in an instant.

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