As the Count has sadly reported today, San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson was let go by the front office, Dean Spanos. I knew this would happen well after San Diego's loss to the Jets in the divisional round of the playoffs, so the news doesn't come as a huge shock. Losing someone like LT - not playing in his prime as he was the last two seasons - someone who's made NFL history in his nine seasons as a Charger, is never easy to lose. I wish him the best of luck to wherever he goes (preferably, i'd want him to finish off his career with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints).
What does this mean for San Diego going forward? A few things:
1.) Philip Rivers is now, officially, the face and leader of this football team. The weight of this team will rise - or fall - mostly on his arm. This the route A.J. Smith wanted to go down since the '04 draft, and now he has it. Which leads me to...
2.) San Diego needs to build the offense that will play to Rivers' strengths. We need a backup center for Nick Hardwicke, a right guard, and a physical running back we can either get out of the Draft, or search for one in the free agency market.
3.) The narrative going into the 2010 campaign? Same as last year: the most talented team in the NFL, with great depth. A favorite to win its fifth straight AFC West title, its sixth in seven years since 2004. Can Rivers lead his team to get to Dallas, the site of Super Bowl XXV? Or will it be another year where the team chokes in the post-season?