The League

Les Carpenter
Staff Writer

Les Carpenter

Yahoo! Sports reporter and former NFL writer for The Washington Post.



Everything depends on LaDainian Tomlinson's injured groin. If the torn tendon in his groin heals on its own and he is able to make the same darting cuts that made him the NFL's best running back then he will continue to be a star in the league -- at least for another two years. But if this injury, that limited him to a half in San Diego's first playoff game this winter, is indeed as serious as it sounds, than he might well be through.

Reasonably healthy, Tomlinson was still dominant last year, even as he approached the magic age of 30 -- the one in which running backs often begin their steady decline. His yards-per-carry were at a career low of 3.8 last season but it was clear that he was severely-injured by season's end. Even hurt he still had 1,110 yards and 11 touchdowns. If he can play next year, he will be good.

The question is where? The two most likely scenarios both play in his favor. If he stays with the Chargers he will share more time with Darren Sproles who proved to be elusive to opposing defenses when he got to play in the postseason. A backfield in which Tomlinson gets 2/3 of San Diego's carries combined with Sproles who gets the other 1/3 and returns kicks could give the Chargers a more formidable offense than ever. If he goes to New Orleans and teams up with Reggie Bush, also a complimentary back, the Saints could once again have one of the league's most feared offenses.

But everything depends on the groin. If it holds up he is clearly ahead of the other superstars in limbo -- players like receiver Marvin Harrison and defensive end Jason Taylor who both have little left and could consider retirement. Former Tampa bay receiver Joey Galloway tried to play on a broken foot last season but is only a year removed from one of his best seasons. Galloway has always taken great care of his body and is a young 37. It seems likely he has something left and could really help a team looking for a second or third receiver. Especially one desperate for a deep threat. New England is a possibility. His market value won't be great in a good year for receivers, but Galloway knows how to get open down the sidelines and will help somebody next season.

By Les Carpenter  |  March 10, 2009; 5:40 PM ET  | Category:  Free Agency , San Diego Chargers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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