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For LT, time is the heart of the matter

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    By Tim Sullivan

    [​IMG]

    LaDainian Tomlinson is like a vintage sports car: exquisitely engineered, continually thrilling, and repeatedly down for repairs.

    The miles accumulate along with the memories, until the cost of maintenance consumes the rush of pulse-pumping, responsive speed.

    All running backs reach the point of diminishing dazzle, the career crossroads at which what they are can never again match what they once were. If LT has not already reached that point, it is close, and it is coming. This is the way of all flesh, and all flash, and there's no one to fault but Father Time.

    Thus the Chargers' interest in reconfiguring LT's contract should not be viewed as an insult, but as an inevitability. Both sides understood from the outset that the second half of an eight-year NFL contract is no more binding than a lock of hair.

    Future salaries were negotiated to provide Chargers management the opportunity to fully amortize Tomlinson's signing bonus for salary-cap purposes, to provide a measure of control under certain circumstances (say, hyperinflation) and to provide LT with a considerable pile of cash and substantial back-loaded bargaining leverage.

    This is a business arrangement, after all, not a moral compact. It is designed to reward commitment while retaining flexibility, something like a pro football pre-nup.

    In the strict, legal sense, there's not a dime's worth of obligation left in the document.

    If the looser, sentimental sense tells a different story, if Chargers fans want LT back out of faith or affection or auld lang syne, consider that the measure of what this player has meant to this franchise.

    Remember, though, that sports executives earn their paychecks with their minds rather than their hearts. Vince Lombardi may have loved Paul Hornung more than any other player he ever coached, but that didn't stop the great Green Bay coach from letting Hornung go in the 1967 expansion draft.

    “And this same flower that smiles today,” quoth Robert Herrick, “tomorrow will be dying.”

    More than any other player, Tomlinson symbolizes the Chargers' rise from laughingstock to legitimacy. When A.J. Smith replaced the late John Butler as the Bolts' general manager, he assigned highest priority to extending LT's contract and went so far as to promise the player that his career “would not be in vain.”

    Though some of Smith's recent remarks would seem to indicate reduced reverence for the two-time rushing champion, and ultimately prompted a personal apology, my read was that Smith's real intent was to avoid getting outflanked by agent Tom Condon in a high-stakes public relations battle.

    Smith was reacting to a statement posted on Tomlinson's Web site. The statement was attributed directly to Tomlinson, but it sounded suspiciously scripted and it read like disingenuous spin.

    “Me being traded is completely out of my hands,” it read, in part. “I have ABSOLUTELY no control in that decision making. All I can do is wait and see how it all plays out. As for now, I am a Charger and will be until I am told otherwise.”

    If this was designed as a plea for public sympathy, it was executed as an evasion. Because of LT's $6.725 million salary for 2009, and his medical issues lingering from last season, the prospect of a trade has always been the least likely scenario. The real issue, then and now, was what the Chargers were prepared to offer and whether Tomlinson was willing to accept a pay cut to stay put.

    We're still waiting for a statement on that one from any of those directly involved in the discussion.

    On both sides of the bargaining table, this is one of those situations where calculation and sentiment collide. Unlike the Jacksonville Jaguars, who urged running back Fred Taylor to retire before releasing him last week, the Chargers do not appear to believe that the 29-year-old Tomlinson is finished. Neither do they want to appear ungrateful for all he has already done.

    Tomlinson, in turn, has to be mindful of the marketplace while weighing his own willingness to start over somewhere else.

    He has to wonder how much he has left, but he has to know that the 33-year-old Taylor is still attracting suitors, including the New England Patriots.

    He has to assess whether he's prepared to run the same route as the record-setting Marvin Harrison, who reportedly has asked for his release after failing to agree on a restructured contract with the Indianapolis Colts.

    He has to decide whether to listen to his heart or to his agent.
     
  2. Sydalish

    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

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    LISTEN TO YOU HEART LT :yes:
     
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  3. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    He has Sy, and his heart told him, "AJ is dissin you!" :lol:
     
  4. Kwak

    Kwak ....

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    He is listening to his Agent right now and has been for a while.
     
  5. Bolts 74'

    Bolts 74' BoltTalker

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    Let's just get it done.If he's not going to sign (Condon)then lets move one.Bring Derrick Ward in he only want 4 mil.a year then draft a RB in the 16th and lets move on.I love L.T. but like they always say it is about money.
     
  6. Showmeyourbolt

    Showmeyourbolt Well-Known Member

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    He should. No way I would take less money to play for this team.
     
  7. BOLTS4LIFE

    BOLTS4LIFE Banned Banned

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    Anyone in here who thinks LT needs to prove where his heart is must not have been following him at all since 2001.
    He could have done much better for himself if he waited till his original contract ran out. The Cowboys, Patriots, Colts, etc. would have taken him in a heartbeat and he would be just as profitable as Michael Jorden today.

    He wants to stay here but AJ needs to be fair with the offer. He cant' expect LT to accept a **** offer.
     
  8. Sydalish

    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

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    I have faith. :yes:
     
  9. BOLTS4LIFE

    BOLTS4LIFE Banned Banned

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    I'd rep you if I could!!! :tup:
     
  10. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    The LT topic has been run through the wringer. It's time to kickback and wait for this to all be played out. It will all come to a close in due time, the Bolt's have some tough decisions to make, so does LT. They're either going to work it out or not, what we think will have very little impact on the end result's.
     

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