LaDainian Tomlinson: A True Locker Room Cancer

Ian PhilipAnalyst IIIAugust 16, 2010

SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 5: LaDanian Tomlinson #21 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates after a touchdown in the second half against the Cleveland Browns on November 5, 2006 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Let’s be honest with ourselves, there has never been a more moving chant at Qualcomm Stadium than “LT, LT, LT, LT.” Still, a lot of us have turned our back on the scorned superstar and for good reason.

The act of tattooing the New York Jets logo on LaDanian Tomlinson’s massive calve was the equivalent of a backhanded inner city pimp slap across the face of millions.

His sharp comments about his former offensive line’s inability to open up holes stymied support from his biggest supporters (literally).

His soap opera-esque backstabbing of Norv Turner would make JR Ewing blush and then humbly bow to the greatness of LT. Norv is the man who tried his best to save LT for the playoffs, so that LT could obtain his much desired post season glory. Norv is the guru who installed the offensive system that aided LT in securing millions of dollars and elevating himself to the status of icon.

Still, LT stabbed ol’ Norval in the back.

I’ve searched and I’ve searched for LT’s comments praising Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers as his two of his biggest allies in his quest for a Hall of Fame final destination.


I’ve tried to find his deference to Keenan McCardell’s supreme route running abilities and third down mastery as a great help in his ability to remain on the field to generate Madden NFL 1998 style ridiculous stats in 2006.

That’s a ridiculous notion. LT doesn’t share credit, but he’ll pass the blame.

LT found himself in the limelight, and he basked in that limelight like a true locker room Cancer.

Not a Terrell Owens in Philadelphia type cancer, but a born in the month of June or July Cancer. We’re talking astrology here.

Tomlinson worked hard. He worked tirelessly. He consulted with the great Emmitt Smith on how to become a great runner. He didn’t do this for the fame or money! He did it because that’s who he is. That’s a great strength of the Cancer.

LT had his chance to become an inspiration to young Jay Cutlers everywhere. He could have fought to leave San Diego after his rookie deal was up. San Diego was a terrible team. Instead he fought to stay with his football family like a loyal Cancer is supposed to do.

As LT’s weary legs began to fail him, the villainous San Diego General Manager AJ Smith sensed the decline and looked to move the Chargers on without him. The perceptive LT was able to sense AJ Smith’s cold-hearted business mentality and went to the team CEO Dean Spanos for support. He obtained it.

The Cancer’s ability to perceive and project emotions (and therefore intentions) shot LT in the foot as he had a horrendous season to end his Hall of Fame caliber San Diego Chargers career.

It seems that AJ Smith was correct and the finger pointing began.

Over the years, we’ve seen a moody LT angrily storm away from a struggling Philip Rivers only to look like a fool when Rivers delivered the win in the end. We’ve seen the emotional LT embarrass himself, the team, and the entire city of San Diego with his outburst after an error filled loss the the New England Patriots. We’ve seen the sensitive, but indecisive LT say he doesn’t care what the Chargers think one day only to fire back the next day.

The spiritual Tomlinson obtained glory and adoration in the city of San Diego only to be humbled time and time gain. I happen to believe that it’s because he is loved by the one who matters most.

If the one who matters most loves the man, then I can set aside my petty anger over the Jets tattoo and appreciate the hard work, dedication, and enjoyment LT brought to the San Diego Chargers organization even in his worst season.

Thank you LT for the time you spent in San Diego and good luck!


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