Chargers president reaches out to LT

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Chargers appear to be bracing
their fans for the possibility that LaDainian Tomlinson's brilliant
eight-year run with the team could be over.

According to the team's Web site, club president Dean Spanos
called the star running back Thursday to discuss reports that the
Chargers might part with Tomlinson, who has been slowed by injuries
the last two postseasons and will count $8.8 million against the
salary cap next year.

"We talked about the situation and I just tried to explain
everything that must be considered," Spanos said in a story
detailing the offseason decisions the team must make. "I told him
we haven't even started our discussions and won't for a while, so
don't jump to any conclusions. And I told him I would call him
personally to make sure he's aware of everything that's going on."

Tomlinson, the NFL MVP in 2006, missed the Chargers' playoff
loss at Pittsburgh on Sunday with a groin injury. That, coupled
with the lowest rushing total of his career, has led to speculation
that the team might try to trade or even release him.

Tomlinson, who turns 30 in June, is under contract through 2011.
Slowed by toe and groin injuries, Tomlinson gained a career-low
1,110 yards in 2008. Two seasons earlier, he set NFL records with
31 touchdowns - including 28 rushing - and 186 points.

The team declined to make Spanos available for further comment.
Tomlinson didn't immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Tomlinson hurt his groin in the regular-season finale against
Denver on Dec. 28. He started the wild-card playoff game against
Indianapolis but came out after scoring a touchdown early in the
second quarter. The Chargers went on to beat the Colts 23-17
overtime, carried by Darren Sproles' 328 all-purpose yards and two
touchdowns, including the game-winner.

Tomlinson didn't suit up against Pittsburgh, which beat the
Chargers 35-24
. The Steelers held Sproles, who'll become an
unrestricted free agent, to 15 yards on 11 carries.

After the Broncos game, the Chargers announced that Tomlinson
had a strained groin. Reports surfaced the day of the playoff game
against the Colts that Tomlinson had a detached tendon that
connects one of his groin muscles to his pubic bone.

Four days later, Tomlinson - long the franchise's most brutally
honest employee - confirmed that he had a detached tendon and
practically scoffed at the team's public diagnosis.

"If it was a strain I'd be able to play with it, trust me,"
Tomlinson said. "A lot of guys have strains."

General manager A.J. Smith was livid that the severity of
Tomlinson's injury was revealed and called out the player's camp.