LaDainian Tomlinson agreed to a new three-year contract on Tuesday. The deal runs through 2011, same as his previous contract. The agreement means the Chargers accomplished their top two offseason goals, bringing back LT and Darren Sproles.
The details of the contract -- the actual payout, the incentives, etc. -- have yet to be announced. It is not known if Tomlinson will make more than Sproles ($6.6 million), which was thought by some to be a point of contention.
"I love San Diego and being a part of this team with my teammates," Tomlinson said. "My number-one priority was to stay here in San Diego. I truly believe this is the place that gives me the best chance to be successful and win a championship. I want to finish the job we started when I got here eight years ago. My heart has always been in San Diego. I couldn’t imagine putting on another uniform."
Getting credit for the assist in the negotiations was Dean Spanos. The Chargers' president and CEO did not want to see the face of the franchise walk out the door.
Tomlinson is a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer. He's the only player in NFL history to start his career with eight consecutive seasons of 10 or more touchdowns, and he's the single-season record holder for rushing touchdowns (28) and total points (186).
"I really appreciate the role Dean played throughout this process," LT said. "He made it work for everyone; I appreciate his friendship more than he knows."
Spanos was equally celebratory regarding Tuesday's agreement.
"This is a good day for the Chargers and for Chargers fans," Spanos said. "It was important to me to get this done so LT could continue his career here in San Diego where he means so much to our team, our fans and our community. The alternative was just unthinkable."
GM A.J. Smith had stated publicly that he wanted Tomlinson to return, as the Chargers have placed an offseason priority on improving their running game.
"We need to have a solid, consistent running game," Smith said.
With Tomlinson's deal reportedly completed, the Chargers will bring back their top three halfbacks from last season: Tomlinson, Sproles and Michael Bennett.
That means if the Chargers are to improve their running game, it will likely happen with the same group of players toting the ball.
The deal also decreases the odds of the Chargers selecting RB Knowshon Moreno (Georgia) or Chris Wells (Ohio State) in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
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