While the Chargers have cut off negotiations with LaDainian Tomlinson, a former teammate appears ready to do some recruiting if the running back decides not to return to San Diego.
In an interview with XX 1090 AM in San Diego (complete interview), New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees expressed his desire to again play alongside Tomlinson, who was Brees’ teammate in San Diego for five seasons.
“For me, I’m just waiting for the opportunity, if he is available, to come and snatch him away,” said Brees, who admitted sharing that sentiment with Tomlinson but candidly played it off as “just two buddies talkin’ on the phone” during his interview on San Diego’s XX 1090 AM.
For Tomlinson, the Chargers have offered a restructured contract that will be for less money than the $24 million the star running back is scheduled to make by 2011.
For Brees, adding a multi-talented back such as Tomlinson to last season’s top-rated offense would be intriguing.
“I’d love to have him in New Orleans,” Brees told San Diego’s XX 1090 AM. “I’d love to be his teammate again. I think L.T.’s got a lot of great years left in him, so we’ll see what happens.”
Brees admitted to having a discussion with Tomlinson regarding the situation in San Diego.
“We’ve talked a few times. Really just to catch up with him and see how he’s feeling and everything else,” Brees said. “It’s hard not to talk about that situation just because it’s right here in front of him.
“From the best-case scenario, I think it’s best that he remains a Charger, just because he’s been the heart and soul of this organization for eight years. For him to have to go and play elsewhere because the organization isn’t willing to pay him what he’s worth right now, I think that’s a shame.”
Brees also doesn’t think that Tomlinson should accept a pay cut from the Chargers.
“Look at his track record,” Brees said. “Many people could say he had a decline this year, but I disagree with that. He was banged up for the majority of the year, and I think that’s just part of the game at times.
“I mean, the guy hasn’t missed one start his entire NFL career, so if you’re going to sit here and tell me he’s, you know, not a durable guy, then you’re crazy. Like I said, I think he’s still got a lot of motivation. I think he’s got a lot of fight and fire left in him. And you know he can still be a very productive player. So I don’t see any reason why he should be taking a pay cut at this point.”
The Chargers selected Tomlinson and Brees in the 2001 draft after one of the biggest draft trades in NFL history. Together, Brees and Tomlinson helped lead the Chargers to the AFC West crown in 2004, the team’s first division title since 1994.