TCU

Tomlinson’s TCU, San Diego jersey numbers have an origin

Running back LaDainian Tomlinson played 11 seasons in the NFL, including nine with the San Diego Chargers and two with the New York Jets. On June 18, 2012, San Diego president Dean Spanos hosted a news conference so that Tomlinson could re-sign and retire as a Charger.
Running back LaDainian Tomlinson played 11 seasons in the NFL, including nine with the San Diego Chargers and two with the New York Jets. On June 18, 2012, San Diego president Dean Spanos hosted a news conference so that Tomlinson could re-sign and retire as a Charger. AP

Few people know the origin behind LaDainian Tomlinson’s choice of jersey number 5 at TCU and number 21 with the San Diego Chargers.

Until now.

Tomlinson talked about his jersey numbers during the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation gala last week at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel where he received the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

He said when he went to TCU, he chose No. 5 because he was a fan of former University of Georgia star Garrison Hearst, who wore No. 5 for the Bulldogs, and it looked like a good number on a running back.

As for No. 21, Tomlinson said he liked both Barry Sanders (20) and Emmitt Smith (22) so he wanted to “squeeze somewhere in between.”

Smith and Sanders are both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Tomlinson will be eligible in 2017.

Tomlinson will have his No. 21 jersey retired when he is inducted into the Chargers’ Hall of Fame at halftime of their Sunday night game against Kansas City.

He will join Dan Fouts, Lance Alworth and the late Junior Seau as the only players in franchise history with their jersey retired.

TCU retired Tomlinson’s jersey in 2005.

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