LaDainian Tomlinson compares football to a marriage, and he sure loves football.
Since his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in February, the former TCU great has been busy preparing for his big day, including having the bust made that will stay behind in Canton, Ohio, after his Aug. 5 enshrinement.
“It’s similar to planning a wedding. I feel like I’m getting married again,” Tomlinson said Thursday during a teleconference. “That’s been surprising.”
Tomlinson, 38, retired in 2012, but continues working as an analyst for the NFL Network and with his annual youth camps at TCU.
“Football is something that I’ve been very passionate about for a long time, ever since I can remember,” Tomlinson said. “When I was 5 or 6 years old, I watched football religiously. At the age of 7 or 8, I started playing football. I retired at 32. That means I played football every year for about 24 years of my life.
“Naturally for me, when I left the game, I felt more comfortable doing something in the capacity of football. I’ve been fortunate to work with NFL Network. I guess you get inside sometimes the urge to play. I guess you get that out when you can talk about it, go to games and be around games. That has helped me, along with my role with the L.A. Chargers, being a special assistant to Dean Spanos, sharing my knowledge with players, executives and our owner. That’s why I’ve done it. It’s been the best thing for me in retirement.”
After 56 years in San Diego, the Chargers moved north to Los Angeles this season. All home games will be played at StubHub Center while the new L.A. Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park is being built.
During his 11 NFL season, Tomlinson played nine with the Chargers and two with the New York Jets. Even though the Chargers now reside in Los Angeles, Tomlinson made it clear that he was going into the Hall as a “San Diego Charger.”
“Because that’s who I played for,” he said. “I recognize that you can’t erase the history of 56 years in San Diego. I do realize I work for the L.A. Chargers. There is no conflict there. In my mind, they’re the Chargers. To me, it’s always been about the lightning bolt.”
Joining Tomlinson in the Class of 2017 will be Jerry Jones, Terrell Davis, Kurt Warner, Kenny Easley, Jason Taylor and Morten Andersen.