I can honestly say I never thought I'd see the day that LaDainian Tomlinson was released from the San Diego Chargers. However, it just proves my normal statement—"The NFL is a weird and wacky place"— even more true.
In the midst of all the questioning, speculation, and media debates on Tomlinson's future, the San Diego Chargers decided to pull a fast one on everybody Monday night, and proceed with the questionable decision of releasing their once-upon-a-time blockbuster running back.
Nine years is a long time to be part of a team that is still yet to experience Lombardi success, but according to San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos, the decision was the right one.
"This is a part of the business that I hate, and it's particularly hard when you're dealing with someone I consider a friend," Spanos stated. "Change involving great players is never easy. I respect L.T. as much or more than any player I've ever known. And no one appreciates his contributions to this organization more than I do. That is why this is such a difficult announcement for me to make."
As hard as it was for Spanos to deliver the news, the blockbuster headline leaves NFL fans lost and confused as to why the San Diego Chargers would want to throw away a future Hall of Fame running back.
Still, like many sporting issues in the world, there are two sides to this coin. NFL fans may feel the slightest bit upset to see LaDainian Tomlinson a free agent for the time being, but I can assure you that come March and April, fans will be licking their chops just at the thought of their favorite team signing the speedy running back out of TCU.
So now that I laid down the information, delivered you the news, and prompted you for the future, where does that leave LaDainian Tomlinson in terms of his future?
Well, it's tough to say. One thing is for sure though: Most NFL teams will be pushing down their button when it comes to considering a possible roster changing move. Unfortunately for us fans, a possible move isn't in the near future just yet. We still have weeks and weeks of SportsCenter debate, Tony Kornheiser summaries, and article after article on where LaDainian Tomlinson could potentially end up.
Although, that doesn't stop me from wondering where Tomlinson is needed in the NFL. On paper, about every one of the remaining 31 NFL teams stand out. Realistically I could say Tomlinson would be a good fit on any team. He just has that kind of durable ability.
However, I can narrow it down to one team—the Green Bay Packers. Think about it. The Packers really haven't had a great running back since Ahman Green's glory days, and they are well out of sight and into the distance now. Yes, Ryan Grant is playing well, but the consistency factor lacks at times, and Packer fans are criticizing Grant more and more frequently.
Aside from the running back position in Green Bay, the overall offense has a very positive and energizing feel to it. Sure, the Packers took an early exit in the playoffs thanks to the Arizona Cardinals' hard fought win, but the Packers didn't look all that bad, did they?
No, they didn't. In fact, they didn't look too bad at all. Aaron Rodgers is in form, and I can only imagine what 2010 holds in store for the Pro Bowl starting quarterback.
As for the wide receiver game, well what else needs to be said? It's as good as it has ever been. Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones, and Jordy Nelson make up the Packers' arsenal of attack, and they offer up an underrated, yet explosive, style of game play.
More importantly, though, for Tomlinson, is the off-field dramas. Top caliber athletes are always going to be in the spotlight, so it is only natural to want to avoid the press at any cost. Come to Green Bay and I can assure you that will happen for the most part.
I'm not saying LaDainian would be a picture perfect matchup in Green Bay. He may even fail miserably and follow in Terrell Owens's footsteps. I do know though, that the Packers could make do with Tomlinson and, more importantly, he could make do with them.
All that needs to happen now is a little bit of interest shown. The usual "sit back and relax" attitude of Ted Thompson won't cut it in this situation. Tomlinson is bait, and every team will want a piece of him. Hopefully the Packers end up taking the biggest bite.