|Is the end coming for an all-time great? (Getty Images)|
LaDainian Tomlinson, without question, is a slam-dunk Hall of Famer. And it's possible we might have seen the end of his career, as the running back said on Friday that he's "contemplating retirement."
"I am contemplating retirement," Tomlinson told the Scott and BR Show on XX1090 AM in San Diego Friday. "That's what I told my coaches and told my agent and everybody. That's exactly what it is. This is the first time in my playing career that I've actually, honestly thought about this may be it for me. That's kind of where I am right now."
It's crazy to think that Tomlinson won't be playing in the NFL next year, but it also seemed crazy to think of Tomlinson in a jersey that didn't feature a lightning bolt on it, and the past two years he's spent with the Jets.
And it's also worth noting that Tomlinson admitted the question from the hosts was a "good question" -- he doesn't honestly know if he'll retire. And Tomlinson could end up playing again in 2012. He just wants to find that ring and is tired of suiting up without it being a legitimate possibility.
"I just think after 11 years of ... getting close and not getting it done," Tomlinson said. "It's getting tough for me to start over on that journey again."
When pressed about the issue, Tomlinson admitted that it was a "new team" he'd be looking for and probably not the Jets, though he wouldn't rule out a return to New York.
"That's hard to say, I can't say either way, honestly," Tomlinson said when asked if he wanted to go back to the Jets. "I think anything is open you guys. I'm not going to say 'no.' And I'm not going to say 'yes' either."
Tomlinson is fifth all-time in the NFL in rushing yards and he's third all-time when it comes to touchdowns scored with 162, behind only Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith. The majority of those came when LT was a member of the Chargers and the running back said he wouldn't be entirely opposed to a return stint with San Diego.
"Yeah, I absolutely would consider it," Tomlinson said when asked about being a role player with San Diego.
Now that would be a story -- Tomlinson returning for one final run in San Diego. I'm not entirely sure it would ever happen, if only because of the burnt bridges left in the wake of Tomlinson's departure from San Diego.
But if it did happen (and, again, it's unlikely), it would be a pretty big story. Almost as big as seeing one of the greatest running backs in NFL history walk away from the game. Which is also a possibility.
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