Thursday, June 24, 2010
LT: Linebacker's Terror & Local Treasure
LaDainian Tomlinson is a Charger. He has been a Charger since his draft into the NFL eight years ago, and will (hopefully) sport a bolt-adorned helmet until he hangs up his jersey for good.
The past few weeks have been arduous. Speculation over Tomlinson’s status with the team roared as fans waited in dreaded anticipation for word. The franchise tag on Darren Sproles didn’t help our optimism for Tomlinson’s future, but hope was never lost. I have written previously that Sproles is not an “every down back,” and I assert that same claim here. Now that LT is back in a Chargers uniform, however, my optimism for the team’s immediate potential has skyrocketed.
My area of focus here is not so much on LT as a utility for victory, but as a man with a family, staying home. LaDainian Tomlinson is a quiet man. While his on-field performances roar, his civilian character is subdued. LT is never out in the clubs making a scene, and has never had his off-the-field reputation questioned. In a sports world consumed by the likes of Terrell Owens and Manny Ramirez, LaDainian Tomlinson is one whom we can all look towards as a true role model for ourselves and for our children. While Owens continues his cancerous reign on the teams for which he plays, Tomlinson is a cultural antibody. His hard work and dedication on the field have made him a first-round hall-of-famer, and his contributions to the city of San Diego are quiet endurances of grace and compassion. The city of San Diego owes a lot to the boy from Texas, and even more to the man from Qualcomm Stadium.
The Chargers have been labeled recently as being an arrogant team. When speculation arose about Drew Brees wanting LT to join him in New Orleans, opinionated sports columnists like Michael Wilbon (one of my favorite personalities) urged Tomlinson to go where he was wanted, in hopes of one day coming back to San Diego to show the Chargers all that he had left. Fortunately for the Chargers organization and the city of San Diego, Tomlinson announced his return to the team earlier this week. Regardless of how close LT really was to leaving San Diego, the two sides have now reached an agreement that will allow Tomlinson to spend his remaining seasons in a Chargers uniform. With this move, Dean Spanos and the Chargers organization made it clear that they want LT in a Bolt uniform. Much more significant, however, is what this deal means on the side of Tomlinson. It shows that amongst all other things, professional and lucrative, LaDainian Tomlinson wants to be a Charger, and wants to be in San Diego. Sir, your wish is our command.
One must keep in mind that the NFL is a business. Men can contribute heroically to their teams and to their communities, and still be cut the next day. Luckily for us, the Chargers and LaDainian Tomlinson have recognized the magic of their unity, and have acted on visions of a great future. As players have come and gone, I have always stood by the San Diego Chargers. I told a friend last week that I would trade LT for a Superbowl victory. Today I am ashamed of that statement, and believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that LaDainian Tomlinson means more to the Chargers and the city of San Diego than a Superbowl ever will.
(c) 2010 Brent Bracamontes