Seeking help adjusting to the Los Angeles market, the Chargers have turned to a franchise legend for assistance.
Five-time Pro Bowler LaDainian Tomlinson will become a special assistant to ownership, the Chargers announced Thursday. Tomlinson, who is an NFL Network analyst, will remain in his current role as well. The Chargers say Tomlinson will be "helping to further develop fan engagement and community relations programs for the Los Angeles Chargers" by "maintain(ing) an active presence in the community, building on the momentum the team has established with its call to 'Fight for LA.'"
The move is another chess piece on the board for the newest Los Angeles franchise and while it is largely symbolic, it is part of an earnest effort by the Chargers to claim their new territory. The Rams, on paper, would seem to be on pace for another underwhelming season in 2017 while the Chargers are developing into a trendy pick to return to the playoffs. Philip Rivers, a healthy Keenan Allen, a bolstered offensive line and a reimagined defense under new coordinator Gus Bradley are all reasons to like their potential.
All of these minor offseason Chargers storylines can come together and form the narrative of an ascending franchise if the team wins games. They've sold out their season tickets in the 27,000-seat StubHub Center micro-stadium and are talking about harnessing the intimate atmosphere to their advantage. They're betting high on 2016 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa and gambling on a first-time head coach in Anthony Lynn.
For the first time since Tomlinson left, they are close to having an actual identity.
"I spent the most memorable and exciting years of my career as a Charger," Tomlinson said in the statement. "Joining the franchise as it makes the move to Los Angeles, and helping to rally new and familiar Chargers fans alike, is an honor and a privilege. I'm looking forward to working alongside the Spanos family once again."
If Lynn can harness all this energy, Tomlinson will be along for one heck of a ride.