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Tomlinson says Chargers wanted him for 10-12 carries a game this season

By Larry Hartstein | Senior Analyst

LaDainian Tomlinson signed a one-day contract to retire as a Charger last year. (USATSI)

The new Chargers' administration might not be sold on Ryan Mathews as a bellcow running back.

In a surprising revelation, LaDainian Tomlinson told Yahoo!'s Michael Silver that new San Diego general manager Tom Telesco and coach Mike McCoy asked him to come out of retirement and play for the team this season.

"I met Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy at the [NFL scouting] combine, and they asked me to come back and play," Tomlinson said. "I saw [executive vice president] John Spanos at a restaurant in Indy, and he introduced me to them, and they brought it up. At first I thought they weren't really serious, but they kept talking about it, and I realized it was real. They said, 'You can come back and carry it 10 or 12 times a game. We'd like to have you here.' "

Tomlinson, who turns 34 in June and hasn't played since 2011 with the Jets, said he was flattered but never seriously considered coming back.

"No, because when I made the decision to walk away, I wrestled with it long and hard, and I knew it was final," he told Silver. "Once I retired, that was it. My mind is in a different place. Mentally, going back would have been too hard."

Tomlinson signed a one-day Chargers contract in June 2012 so he could retire with the team where he spent his first nine seasons. In that time, Tomlinson scored 153 touchdowns, made five Pro Bowls, led the league in rushing twice and won the 2006 MVP award.

Mathews, 25, averaged 3.8 yards a carry behind a bad offensive line last season. Mathews was highly productive in 2011, piling up 1,546 rushing-receiving yards, but has missed 10 games in his three-year career.

The Chargers signed former Patriots running back Danny Woodhead to a two-year deal last month.

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