Photos by Chris Stone
Chargers great LaDainian Tomlinson vows to “do my part” to keep his former team in San Diego and avert a proposed Chargers-Raiders stadium in Carson.
“I can’t picture it … the San Diego Chargers going anyplace else,” the retired running back said Monday night before being inducted into the Breitbard Hall of Fame. “I guarantee that not one player is interested in teaming up with the Raiders. … I am going to try to do my part to make sure the San Diego Chargers stay in San Diego.”
Tomlinson made the comments to media outside a ballroom at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center in Mission Valley.
“Like anything, it came down to money,” he said. “That’s the root of the problem. But I believe both sides — with this Mayor Kevin Faulconer — I really believe he wants to keep the San Diego Chargers in San Diego.”
Tomlinson said he believes that the Faulconer is “the first mayor who has said this.”
“I want to get something done. And knowing [Chargers owner] Dean Spanos the way I know him,” he wants to keep the team here, Tomlinson said. “I really don’t see why two sides can’t sit down and work something out — if they truly both want to be here in San Diego.
“I grew up as a man in the San Diego community. I was involved in the community both on and off the field. … The fans here, they have an affection for me. I have an affection for them. They have seen me play, and I have seen them cheer — so I couldn’t see the San Diego Chargers going anywhere else.”
Asked how he could help keep the Chargers in town, Tomlinson said: “Just show my support for what the mayor is trying to do” as well as the Chargers. “I think they want to stay here.”
But Tomlinson said he also wanted to be “a voice for the fans.”
All around town, he said, he’s been implored to “help the Chargers stay here. I heard that a thousand times today.”
Besides Tomlinson, the Bolts’ career rushing leader, former major league first basemen Chris Chambliss and Tony Clark were inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions’ Breitbard Hall of Fame.
Ceremonies were held at the sports museum’s annual Salute to the Champions gala.
Tomlinson played for the Chargers from 2001-2009, rushing for 12,490 yards and 138 touchdowns, both team records, and led the NFL in rushing in 2006 and 2007. Tomlinson played the final two seasons of his professional career with the New York Jets.
He’s the latest Charger to enter the local sports Hall of Fame, following the late Junior Seau in 2013. Other Bolts in the Breitbard include quarterback Stan Humphries (2004), kicker Rolf Benirschke (1999), receiver Kellen Winslow (1995) and quarterback Dan Fouts (1989).
Chambliss, a former Oceanside High School standout, played 17 Major League Baseball seasons for three teams, batting .279 and hitting 185 home runs.
Chambliss is best remembered for hitting the tie-breaking home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in the decisive fifth game of the 1976 American League Championship Series, giving the New York Yankees their first pennant since 1964.
Clark hit. 262 with 251 home runs in 15 seasons. The Christian High School product and onetime San Diego State basketball star was last year named the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, the players union.
The museum’s Hall of Fame is named after the late founder Bob Breitbard.
— Chris Stone and City News Service contributed to this report.