The most prolific running back in Chargers history will be enshrined into football immortality on Saturday as LaDainian Tomlinson officially enters the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Although Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates are the only two members of the current Bolts’ roster to have played with Tomlinson, ask a number of current Chargers and they’ll tell you why LT is worthy of the honor.
“There are a lot of reasons why LT is a Hall of Famer,” Rivers explained. “Like I’ve often said, I had the best view in the house on a lot of those runs. His vision was unreal. He was making the next cut before he made the first cut sometimes. I was like, ‘Golly, how in the world did he see that?’ Because there was no way at that point to make that decision. So his vision would be the first thing. He wasn’t a big back, but he was powerful. In between the tackles, he was scatty in his own way and he could hit the homerun, but he was powerful in between the tackles.”
“LT deserves this,” Gates said. “Even though we didn’t win a Super Bowl or an AFC Championship, we had big moments like (when he broke the single-season TD record). Those celebratory moments are what we will always have, and can talk about forever. This is another.”
Though he didn’t share a field with him in person, Melvin Ingram said he would play on the same team as LT whenever he played older versions of Madden. As a defender, Ingram could see how LT’s game made it so hard for the other side of the ball to stop him.
“Go look at his track record,” Ingram proclaimed. “LT was unpredictable. He was the total package and had everything a running back wants to have. He had it all. He was a running back (and) receiver; all that in one.”
“I don’t know a whole lot about him as far as being his teammate,” Brandon Mebane expressed. “But playing against him a couple times, you can tell he’s a hard worker from the way he plays. He put everything into (his game) and you can tell he loved his teammates. He loved his offensive linemen, defensive players; he was a natural leader.”
Although he was the “total package,” Tomlinson put his own unique stamp on the running back position. For some rushers like Andre Williams, admiration for LT came because number 21 “did things that I can only hope for in my future.”
“He had the stamina to go the distance,” Williams added. “He went farther than people were willing to go, and that’s why he has records that are still standing right now. He was one of the most prolific players and he’ll stay that way forever.”