Let’s keep Rivers and Gates’ comments about LT in context

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 and running back LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers celebrate a play against the New York Jets during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates made some interesting comments to the San Diego Union-Tribune yesterday about former teammate LaDainian Tomlinson.

If you read between the lines, it would appear as though the Chargers are relieved LT is making his home in the Big Apple now instead of San Diego.

“I don’t know how everyone feels or if they felt it,” said Rivers, who answers questions about Tomlinson the way someone walks through a minefield. “Maybe it was a little bit of a relief. Maybe it’s a feeling of, ‘I can do a little more without wondering what he thinks.’ ”

“Sometimes you would get the sense that people felt bigger than the team,” Gates said. “Not to say it was an issue, but we know it’s not an issue for sure now.”

“Me and LT had a wonderful relationship too. But sometimes you got the sense of stardom status and you can only take it so far. With Philip, I never feel that.”

Some may read Rivers and Gates’ comments and think that they’re glad to be rid of LT or are even unappreciative of what Tomlinson did for the San Diego organization. But it’s important to keep what they said in context and remember that players don’t often get together to sing Kumbaya in a circle in the middle of their locker rooms. A football team is comprised of 50-plus players from all walks of life. Race, age, personality and financial status separate each player, so not everyone is going to have a great relationship.

Tomlinson is among the best players to have ever wore a lightning bolt on the side of his helmet and will always be known for being an intense player. It appears as though he may have created some tension between he and his teammates with his intensity, but that’s to have been expected given the circumstances. It wouldn’t have been easy for any competitive athlete to have been the superstar for almost a decade and then be relegated to backup duties once the team didn’t think they had what it took anymore.

When asked to give his response to what Rivers and Gates said, this is what LT had to say:

“It doesn’t hurt me, but nothing surprises me because guys want to speak their opinion on things. Junior Seau went through the same thing with guys when he was the big star and he left the team and guys said how they felt about him. It’s the same situation. Good luck to those guys,” Tomlinson told the Post.

I wouldn’t have blamed LT if he vented his frustrations about what was said about him, but the fact that he took the high road showed his class.

It appears as though all parities have moved on.

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