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Draft Memories: LaDainian Tomlinson

Posted Apr 20, 2009

Leading up to this weekend’s NFL Draft, several current Chargers recount their draft-day experiences with Chargers.com. We continue the series with LaDainian Tomlinson, who was selected fifth overall in 2001.

I have a lot of great memories of the weekend the Chargers drafted me. I remember being in New York, surrounded by my family as we all wondered where I was going to spend the next 10 years of my life, who I was going to play for.

I wasn’t able to sleep the night before.  I was so nervous about the situation.  This is a big moment in your life that’s going to change it forever.  You play through all the scenarios in your head, but you never really know until you hear your name called. 

The year I was drafted, the Chargers had the first pick.  I never visited San Diego before the draft so heading into that last week I didn’t really think I was going to end up with the Chargers. 

I got a bit of a hunch that Friday. Everybody figured Michael Vick would be the top pick, but there was some question about who was going to make the pick.  Mike told me on Friday that there was going to be a trade between Atlanta and San Diego but I still wasn’t certain I was going to be a Charger because of how little I’d talked to San Diego before the draft. 

Sure enough, Mike was right, and I’m so glad he was.  The Chargers traded the first pick to the Falcons, who took Vick.  Then I had to wait a little bit.  The Cardinals took Leonard Davis and the Browns and Bengals were up next.

I was actually happy to watch the Browns pass me by and then Cincinnati pass me by.  That’s no disrespect to either organization, but we have such great weather in San Diego and I really didn’t want to be in the cold of Ohio.  The Chargers picked fifth after the trade, and the rest is history. 

The draft process is nerve racking, but at the same time it’s the most exciting time of your life.  It was a moment that my family and I were just so proud of.  When I heard my name called by the San Diego Chargers, it was a dream come true.  I’m blessed to be in San Diego and I’m glad things all worked out the way they did.  

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