LaDainian Tomlinson was close to becoming a Denver Bronco.
When LaDainian Tomlinson decided to move his career to the AFC East and become a member of the New York Jets, some San Diego Chargers fans were irked, but for the most part things were pretty cool based on the level of respect that people have for him in SD.
That love would only have extended so far had he made his third and final bow as a member of the division rival Denver Broncos.
In an interview that he granted to UT San Diego after he signed a one-day contract with the Chargers to retire there, LT explains how playing for one of the Charger’s worst enemies almost became a reality.
“That was the only reason I considered Denver,” he said. “At the same time, I thought, ‘How much is a Super Bowl ring really going to do for you at this point?’ Because it’s not with the team I really wanted to do it with.”
Tomlinson went on to ponder the ramifications of such an action with the reporter before declaring why he balked at the deal.
“And you know what? At the end of the day I was thinking, ‘I can’t do that.’ It’s not as bad as being a Raider — but almost.”
We live in a time where free agency has pretty much gutted the thought of a guy spending his entire career for one team.
Even though L.T. did not live up to that standard he did resist selling himself out all costs for the chance at a ring.
“The only team I really gave a thought to was the Broncos, because of Peyton. “We talked. Tom (Condon, Tomlinson’s agent) talked with them … It made me pause a little (and think), ‘Was this what I really want to do?’ … I said, ‘They got Peyton, they have a good defense already; they went deep in the playoffs with Tim Tebow, what are they going to do with Peyton?’ I seriously thought about it.”
In L.T.’s case the Chargers really left him no choice but to play elsewhere but he still maintained a certain level of dignity in how turned the lights off as he left the room.
It’s one thing to leave a team to chase a ring to play for a neutral team after building a life with a ballclub.
It’s another thing to join forces with a bitter enemy that you will see twice a year. It would have made for big headlines but a whole lot of bad blood.
Ask Brett Favre.