LaDainian Tomlinson Is Back: San Diego Chargers Faithful Can Finally Breathe

Gerald NicdaoCorrespondent IMarch 11, 2009

The Union-Tribune's Kevin Acee's lead should be simple. Actually, it is.

"It is finished."

That is short and sweet. It is very concise.

It is all that is needed really to weigh the gravity of what so many associated with the San Diego Chargers' fans, players, and front office types alike are feeling right now.

LaDainian Tomlinson will be back in San Diego. General manager A.J. Smith averts a public relations disaster. Chargers' fans do not have to go out and buy Knowshon Moreno jerseysโ€”at least not yet.

As a fan, I feel relief.

Relief for the franchise. Relief for LT, who really wanted to stay in San Diego. Relief that a whole contingent of fans will not spend the entire offseason in a backlash against what could have been a nuclear disaster for Smith.

I was one of those that was ready to move on. Tomlinson is getting up there in age. He has not been around when the Chargers have bolted into the playoffs the last two years. He just came off his worst season statistically.

I was ready to see Tomlinson out of a Chargers uniform come fall camp.

But that sigh you just heard, that was the sigh of millions in southern California holding their breath to see whether or not Tomlinson stays or if they start protesting in front of Smith's house.

It was a sigh of relief.

Statistically, this may not have been the most important thing for San Diego to do this offseason. Smith could have traded Tomlinson and gotten draft picks. He could have simply cut him and saved cap to resign more crucial players like quarterback Philip Rivers and linebacker Shawn Merriman.

But LT means more to the organization and to the community than just mere stats or wins and losses.

Tomlinson is the Chargers. The Chargers are Tomlinson. He is the franchise. He is the epitome of hard work and paying your dues, so that you can get to the level where you are now.

San Diego would not be where it is if it was not for Tomlinson, and the fans realized that. The fans felt that he earned a little more respect than just getting shipped out of San Diego.

And in a business where loyalty seems to be forgotten, Smith and LT were finally loyal to each other, to the franchise, and to the fans.

LT always wanted to be loyal. He always wanted to stay in San Diego. Tomlinson was so loyal that he will be taking pay cuts so that the franchise can try to keep Rivers and Merriman in town longer than his career will last.

If anything, Tomlinson staying in San Diego really should not have been in doubt. If Smith was willing to work with Tomlinson, which he apparently was, and try to keep him in San Diego, then he was all for it.

LT is not Terrell Owens. He is not a problem like Edgerrin James. He does not bring distractions like Tony Romo.

If anything, Tomlinson has shown that he cared about San Diego, the Chargers, and the community he played in. At the end of the day, that is why Chargers' fans would have cried foul if he was let go.

It is finished. Tomlinson will be back. Chargers' fans can rejoice.


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