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Fishing for answers: LT reflects on record season, playoff disappointment

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, May 14, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/arash_markazi/05/12/tomlinson.fishing/index.html" target="_blank">SI.com</a>

    By Arash Markazi

    <img src="http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2007/writers/arash_markazi/05/12/tomlinson.fishing/p1.lt.getty.jpg" title="LaDainian Tomlinson can't wait for a rematch with the Patriots in September." alt="LaDainian Tomlinson can't wait for a rematch with the Patriots in September." align="right" height="211" width="254" />LaDainian Tomlinson is silent as he stares through his sunglasses at endless waves. There's something cathartic about sitting on a boat cruising through the pristine waters off San Diego. It's hard not to become a little introspective while taking in the ocean breeze and tossing a fishing line into the water on this postcard perfect afternoon.

    "That Patriots game still bothers me," says Tomlinson softly as he plays with the reel on his fishing pole. "Just the way we lost that game. It itches at me. I'm already thinking about our game against them this season but I want to see them in the playoffs. Even if we kick their butts during the season, I want to see them again in the playoffs. They're a championship team and we want to learn how to play in the playoffs like them. When you start to beat those types of teams, you know that you're a championship team."

    At the moment Tomlinson isn't even the champion fisher in his family. While he reflects on last season, his wife, Torsha, gets her third bite of the day and nearly reels in the fish before it comes off the hook half way up.

    "Eww," she says. "Did you see that? It chopped its guts out. Honey, the same thing happened to me before. I'm not strong enough to reel them in."

    There is a thin layer of sarcasm in her voice as she talks to her husband considering Tomlinson hasn't even gotten the slightest hint of a bite all day, no matter how fluidly he weaves his line across the waves, yanking it up and down from time to time.

    "We are the most competitive people when it comes to each other," she says, tossing her line back into the water. "We're competitive about everything. Ping pong, Pac Man, working out, cooking, everything. Ever since we met in college, we've been competing."

    Even when it seems Tomlinson might be back in the game, his wife is right there to put him in check.

    "I think I got something," Tomlinson says as he reels in his possible catch. "Look at that."

    "No, that's just the bait," says Torsha looking at the tiny salamander at the end of the hook. "That doesn't count."

    The Tomlinsons are relaxing on the bow of Shogun, a sport fishing boat that Vitamin Water has rented for the day for him and his foundation as a dozen or so children and their friends and family members try to reel in fish to raise money for Tomlinson's Touching Lives Foundation. While Tomlinson isn't doing much at the moment to help the cause, simply being out on the water is soothing after being thrust back into football during last week's mini-camp.

    "It's relaxing," he says. "I haven't fished in a while since I've been so busy but I enjoy it. I wish I could do it more. I'm going to make a conscious effort to do it more now."

    The excursion has given him an opportunity to take a break and reflect on his record-breaking season last year which saw him break the NFL record for single season touchdowns (31), single season rushing touchdowns (28), points in a single season (186), consecutive games with a rushing touchdowns (18) and consecutive multi-touchdown games (8).

    "Honestly the whole season was a highlight," says Tomlinson. "It was an unreal feeling. It was something you can never dream about. It was something I'll never forget. You know, I thought about it a little bit afterwards but I haven't really dwelled on it. I'm the type of person that wants to keep looking forward; I never want to look back. I want to try to have a better year than last year, even though to some people that may just seem ridiculous. But for me, that's the way I stay on top, and I stay motivated to do my job better than anyone else."

    It would appear Tomlinson may indeed have to top his unprecedented performance from last season if the Chargers are to realize their championship aspirations. After all, they enter this season with a new head coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator after Cam Cameron and Wade Phillips were hired away by the Dolphins and Cowboys respectively before Chargers general manager finally decided to part ways with Marty Schottenheimer.

    "It is a concern," says Tomlinson. "When you lose a head coach and both coordinators in the same year, it's rare, but you understand in the National Football League you lose coaches, you lose players. That's just a part of the business."

    Tomlinson's concerns, however, were squelched for the most part when Norv Turner was hired as the new head coach. While he hasn't had much success as a head coach, Turner, who was Tomlinson's offensive coordinator when he came into the league in 2001, was the one who implanted the offense that Tomlinson has thrived in since he arrived in San Diego.

    "When you have a coach come in like Norv, you know you're not going to be bad off," said Tomlinson. "Norv knows exactly what direction we need to go. Norv is going to call the plays and I'm excited about him bringing his own flavor to the offense. Going back to his days with Dallas, in big games Norv is going to know what do. He's won two Super Bowls. Nothing is going to surprise him. We're going to be explosive this season. If you thought we scored a lot of points last year, wait until this season."

    While Tomlinson wouldn't go so far as to say Schottenheimer didn't know how to coach in "big games," that was certainly his reputation and one of the reasons he was let go after leading the Chargers to the best record in the league last year.

    "Last year was last year and we just have to move on," says Tomlinson. "This year is going to be hard enough. The AFC is so strong. If we played in the NFC we probably would have won the Super Bowl."

    As the boat begins to turn around and return to the dock, Tomlinson is still in search of his first bite as he watches a couple of grade-school girls celebrate their catches.

    "C'mon skip," he says as he throws in another line. "Find us some fish."

    The scene brings a smile to Torsha's face who owns the bragging rights on this day.

    "It's all about girl power," she says, high-fiving one of the girls with a catch. "There were fish out there. You didn't see any?"

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