It's amazing to believe that a 33-year old man considers himself to be "graduating", but that's how LaDainian Tomlinson looked at it during his retirement press conference yesterday.
"I'm graduating today. I've been playing football 20-some years and so at some point it almost seems like school every year where you sacrifice so much and there is so much you put on the line, mentally and physically, with your body, everything,'' Tomlinson said. ''So today, I take the words of Junior Seau: I feel like I'm graduating. I really do, because I've got my life ahead of me, I'm healthy, I'm happy with a great family and I'm excited to now be a fan and watch you guys play.''
Usually when athletes step away from the game they love, they tend to get emotional, but there were no tears in the eyes of Tomlinson as the five-time Pro-Bowler was all smiles.
Tomlinson signed a one-day contract on Monday and retired as a Charger, who he played nine seasons with, and resided in New York for his final two professional football seasons with the Jets.
Tomlinson was joined by his wife LaTorsha, mother Loreane, son Daylen, and daughter Daylah.
Despite his extraordinary career, Tomlinson has never won a Super Bowl. Tomlinson joined the Jets for his final two years in hopes that he would obtain the ring to end his career, but unfortunately, things did not work out the way he would have liked. When asked about his "naked finger," Tomlinson replied, ''Those were championship days, for not only myself and my teammates, but my family as well,'' said Tomlinson, who won two NFL rushing titles. ''So I'm OK with never winning a Super Bowl championship. I know we've got many memories that we can call championship days.''
Tomlinson retires as the fifth all-time rusher with 13,684 yards, and recorded 162 touchdowns, which is third all-time. 145 of Tomlinon's came on the ground, which is second all-time. Tomlinson also holds the single-season record for touchdowns with 31 in 2006.