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Philip Rivers' Thoughts on Honoring #21
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For nine seasons, LaDainian Tomlinson thrilled fans with one of the greatest careers in NFL history.
More than anyone, Philip Rivers saw firsthand how dominant LT truly was.
“I always said I had the best view in the house for a lot of his runs!” he said after Wednesday’s OTA session.
“For a long time now, I’ve thought of him as a Chargers Hall of Famer and a future NFL Hall of Famer,” he said. “I always thought of that number having been put away, as it should be. It was really a pleasure playing with him. The way he went about it, the year he broke the touchdown record, it was a heck of a run he had here. It was a heck of a career.”
Tomlinson’s top season came in 2006 when he was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. He set new NFL records for rushing touchdowns (28), total touchdowns (31) and points scored (186) in 2006, which coincided with Rivers’ first year as the starter. Both men were at the center of the most successful stretch in Chargers history, and will always be connected.
“It means a lot to have played with him,” Rivers said. “Obviously I know he had a lot to do with some of the individual success I had when he was here because of how much teams were focused on him as a runner. And I would like to hope that I, as well as the rest of the guys on offense, helped him out as well with what we could do as a team. It’s always a team effort, but anytime you have an individual player that good, it’s definitely special.”
Rivers admires the three players whose numbers currently hang from the rafters. He has a great deal of respect for Dan Fouts, Lance Alworth and Junior Seau, yet he noted that it will be quite different to see one of his teammates numbers joining them.
“It’s meaningful for me and the guys who played with him. Obviously you see the other guys. Fouts, Alworth and Junior, but you didn’t play with them. You know them and talked to them, but you didn’t play with them. Now to have a guy you played with, it is special. And then the second part is it lets you know you’ve played a while! If a teammate of yours is already going into the team’s Hall of Fame, that means you’ve hung around a pretty good while.”
One of those other teammates Rivers spoke of is Malcom Floyd, who also played six seasons with the running back.
“He’s been an awesome big brother to me on and off the field,” Floyd said. “It was a privilege to play with him. He sacrificed a lot for us, and got us a bunch of wins. I appreciate his effort and everything he did for us. He had a great career, and it was an honor to play with him. It’s going to be awesome to look up and see that number up there, although it makes me feel old! But I’m trying to live on that legacy for him, and I’m trying to get us a Super Bowl win because we all deserve one.”