LaDainian Tomlinson has been one of Dean Spanos' biggest allies when it comes to the Chargers' move from San Diego to Los Angeles. But on Thursday he showed some cracks in the facade. The Hall of Fame running back joined Adam Schein on Mad Dog Radio and let loose with his concerns about the franchise's LA experiment.
Here's what Tomlinson had to say:
Tomlinson claimed things in LA have been tough for the Chargers and that the franchise needs to find a way to connect with the community. He then attempted to deflect by claiming the Rams are struggling to connect as well. While the Rams haven't done as well as they'd hoped, there is an ocean of difference between what the two franchises are dealing with. He also said this has been a problem before and that's why teams (referring to the Rams and Raiders) have left in the past.
Tomlinson then said the following: "Let's just hope that, you know, those people come out and support the teams before it's too late."
Schein smartly asked what Tomlinson meant by "too late" as far as the Chargers are concerned and asked if he meant they would just fall off a cliff as far as the LA market is concerned. Tomlinson's response is below:
Well, I hope not but, you know, who knows? With all the talk about -- the attention that the fans are not coming, there's more opponents' fans than there are home fans for the Chargers. Look, we've seen in the past where teams end up, you know, leaving the LA market. Not saying we're heading there, but we know the NFL is not gonna allow that. We know that. That's why I say 'before it's too late' until the NFL steps in and says 'no longer are we gonna allow this, let's do something about it.'
That last bit was pretty shocking, especially coming from the guy who has been one of the move's biggest cheerleaders. In 2017, Spanos hired Tomlinson as "special assistant to the owner." In that role, his primary job was to help the team reach out to the community and sell them on LA's new team. Given that no one in the city cares about the Chargers and their stands are filled with opposing fans every week, he's clearly done a bang-up job.
I have a feeling the Spanos family won't be too thrilled with that on-air performance from Tomlinson.