Chargers Release LaDainian Tomlinson

Daniel BeerContributor IFebruary 22, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Running back LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the San Diego Chargers sits on the bench in the final moments of the AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the New York Jets at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Jets defeated the Chargers 17-14.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Chargers announced on Monday the release of veteran RB LaDainian Tomlinson after nine years with the team.

The release was expected after Tomlinson finished an injury-inflicted 2009 season with an uncharacteristic 730 yards on 223 carries for an average of 3.3 yards per carry. He told reports on February 4th "I'm not coming back. I've accepted it."

Tomlinson will finish his Chargers career with 12,490 yards, ranking eighth most in NFL history, and 138 rushing touchdowns, ranking second. He rushed to NFL MVP in 2006 after scoring a record 31 touchdowns and 186 points along with 1,815 rushing yards.

"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," Chargers president Dean Spanos said in a statement. "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."

After his release, the 31-year-old Tomlinson, now an unrestricted free agent, told reporters "It's mixed emotions. I've spent nine years of my life here, pretty much my youth. I gave the organization everything I have. But there is a part I won't miss. The football part is fun. But the business part sucks. I won't miss that."

Coming off the most unproductive season of his career, Tomlinson may have limited options in free agency, but could find a home with a team struggling with depth at running back.