San Diego Chargers Inside Slant 2009-05-15

LaDainian Tomlinson's offseason is usually pretty mundane: Work out like a fiend, do a few commercials and arrive at training camp with the hunger for success which has marked each of his eight NFL season.

But this offseason was a tad different. It started with attending the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

"When he was sworn in it was an emotional moment," Tomlinson said. "That was when to me it sank in."

Tomlinson didn't know if his ninth NFL season would include hanging his shingle in San Diego. The team needed him to restructure his contract, and there were no guarantees the two sides would find common ground.

Despite being one of the top running backs in NFL history, Tomlinson was coming off his least productive season -- and he was turning 30 in the down months.

"There was a part of me that doubted it," Tomlinson said of his return. "I wasn't sure if it was going to happen or not."

It did, with Tomlinson tweaking his contract so he'll be back at least one more season. And one more time, he can hear the detractors after finishing the season with a groin injury that derailed his playoff time. But he's confident there is plenty of tread left on his tires.

"It was the same thing when I came into the league," he said. "They asked why did I think I could be the best back? It was just something you feel, of knowing yourself.

"(Now) it's just being healthy and proving I can still perform at a high level. That is the only thing for me: I still want to prove I can be part of the offense and help this team win a championship."

The Chargers have thought for some time the time was right for them to reach their second Super Bowl ever. In the last two seasons they have advanced to the divisional playoff game and the AFC Championship Game.

"I think there's a sense of urgency," Tomlinson said of the Super Bowl chase. "We've been at this spot, come close two times.

"But I don't want to say the window of opportunity is closing unless there are plans of dismantling the team with different players."

Every team gets adjusted during the offseason. The Chargers are no different.

What was different was that Tomlinson's name was in the mix for a change.

That, for now, has changed as a fit Tomlinson continues to shine in the team's offseason workouts.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 15, 2009