Smith: Chargers want new deal for LT

After the Chargers designated RB/KR Darren Sproles as their franchise player for the 2009 season, general manager A.J. Smith confirmed what had been speculated for months — that the team will look to renegotiate RB LaDainian Tomlinson‘s contract.

“[Sproles’ franchise designation] does not affect our ability to negotiate a new contract with LT,” Smith said in a statement released by the team. “We’re hopeful of getting a new deal done with him.”

Tomlinson fought through injuries to rush for 1,110 yards and score 12 total touchdowns in 2008. Chargers management and Tomlinson have had a strained relationship since the end of the season.

Chargers safety Eric Weddle was at the NFL Network studios on Wednesday and said he hopes that Tomlinson can return for 2009.

“He’s still one of the best players in the league,” Weddle said. “Some say he’s on the decline, but he played through a lot of injuries last season. If he wasn’t such a team guy, he would have sat out half of the year and come back 100 percent. But he always looks out for the team. I hope he’s part of the team next season.”

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