It’s been an offseason of rifts already between the Chargers and running back LaDainian Tomlinson, as it looks as if team management and L.T. have already traded blows about if the back will be a part of the teams long-term plans.
After last week’s shots taken by GM A.J. Smith at L.T., things got even more heated, and today’s San Diego Union Tribune is reporting that Smith is trying to make nice with Tomlinson. Here’s the tidbit from today’s paper about the situation:
The Chargers yesterday made moves to reach out to their star running back and to their fans. First, General Manager A.J. Smith called LaDainian Tomlinson to talk to him about comments he made last week that have drawn fire across the nation and inside his organization. The team then posted a story on its Web site. “It was important to me that LT know exactly what happened,” Smith said on the site. “I just answered a question and unfortunately my response was inappropriate. After reading my response to the question, I can see why it was interpreted the way it was. I absolutely meant no disrespect toward LT – none. I have the utmost respect for him on two fronts – as a player and as a person.”
The Chargers are considering what to do with Tomlinson, who is due to make $6.725 million and count $8.79 million against the salary cap in a year in which they are trying to sign Philip Rivers and others to big-money, long-term deals. Tomlinson likely will be offered a restructured contract in mid-February, in which he will be offered a pay cut with incentives that would allow him to recoup some money. Should Tomlinson refuse, he likely would be released after eight record-breaking seasons in San Diego.
If the Chargers really feel that L.T.’s best days are behind him, the team would likely make a long term deal to their free agent running back Darren Sproles, who would likely move on if not being made the starter in 2009.