After losing Darren Sproles and Mike Tolbert in free agency the past two years, many were surprised the Chargers waited until the seventh round of last month’s NFL draft to select a running back. The team needs depth behind starter Ryan Mathews, and though rookie Edwin ‘Rock’ Baker is expected to contribute as a third-down back, the team still has a glaring need to fill on the depth chart.
According to a team insider, a veteran running back will be signed to fill that need at some point this offseason. There are still several quality backs on the market, and the team is waiting until players are willing to accept the veteran minimum contract before offering a deal. Players such as Jackie Battle and Cadillac Williams have been mentioned as possibilities, though the insider believes the team has other backs on the radar, too.
One player who can be crossed off the list of possibilities — much to the displeasure of Chargers fans — is LaDainian Tomlinson. The franchise’s all-time leading rusher will be 33 in June and is likely not suited for the role the team has available, which is to be a change-of-pace runner, pass blocker out of the backfield and special-teams "gunner." Tomlinson has hinted at retirement, though he said recently he would consider signing with a team if the situation fit him perfectly. We hear that’s not in San Diego, where the team is not on the verge of the Super Bowl, and where Tomlinson had a bit of a falling out with head coach Norv Turner a few years ago over offensive play-calling.
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