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So long, San Diego: Tomlinson believes Chargers will release him

LaDainian Tomlinson told The San Diego Union-Tribune on Thursday what most people have speculated for months: He will not be a San Diego Charger next season.

"I'm not coming back," said Tomlinson, who added that he believes the Chargers will release him. "… I've accepted it."

Tomlinson is the franchise's all-time leading rusher, but he just finished the least productive season of his nine-year NFL career (730 yards on 223 carries). Last offseason, the 2006 NFL MVP agreed to restructure the final three years of his contract and take a pay cut, but he told a San Diego radio station Monday that he won't do that again.

Tomlinson has two years remaining on his contract, and he is due a $2 million roster bonus March 5. He would be paid $5 million in total salary in 2010.

Tomlinson's agent, Tom Condon, said Thursday on NFL Network that "it would be sad" to see his client leave the Chargers.

"L.T. has been a great player, a great guy and a great friend for all of these years. And a Hall of Famer," Condon said. "It would be sad to have him depart and play for another team at the end of his career.

"Certainly he is still a high-quality football player. He keeps himself in tremendous condition. He's had a couple of injuries here in the past several years. Nevertheless, I expect him to be playing in the National Football League this year. And I think he will be a major part of somebody's offense."

Tomlinson told The Union-Tribune that he might have Condon call the Chargers to speed up what he believes to be his inevitable release.

"It's mixed emotions," he said. "I've spent nine years of my life here, pretty much my youth. I gave the organization everything I have. I enjoyed the community. But there is a part I won't miss. The football part is fun. But the business part sucks. I won't miss that."

Chargers spokesman Scott Yoffe declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press.

Tomlinson joined the Chargers in 2001 as a first-round draft pick out of TCU and has made five Pro Bowls in his nine NFL seasons. He ranks eighth on the league's career rushing yards with 12,490 yards.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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