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Rivers and Gates Take Shots at Tomlinson, Who Takes the High Road

While talking to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribuneyesterday, Philip Rivers had a few choice words for former Charger running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

“I don’t know how everyone feels or if they felt it,” said Rivers. “Maybe it was a little bit of a relief. Maybe it was a feeling of, ‘I can do a little more without wondering what he thinks.”

After Rivers’ comments to Acee, Gates decided to join in on the fun as well. “Sometimes you would get the sense that people felt bigger than the team,” he said. “Not to say it was an issue, but we know it’s not an issue for sure now.”

After reading the rest of Acee’s article, you get the feeling that some of the Chargers’ players feel like it’s more a team effort than an effort to put a few star players above the rest of the team since Tomlinson’s departure. Acee himself even makes it clear that Tomlinson had his fair share of negative qualities, saying things such as “There was an aura about Tomlinson that he was distinctively set aside,” as well as other things.  And that feeling of a team effort has given some of the players new life and a new hope that they can finally bridge that gap between a playoff-caliber team and a Super Bowl-caliber team.

“It’s exciting,” said center Nick Hardwick. “We’re going to have to come up with our own identity, and we don’t know what it will be. We’ll go through some battles and see. Things are going to start to emerge and develop. Guys are going to have to step up and assume roles maybe they haven’t before.”

Despite this negative vibe towards Tomlinson that seems to be radiating from some of the players, Tomlinson wasn’t phased by the lack of respect from the team that he helped bring back to NFL prominence during the first nine years of his illustious career.

“Honestly, I really have no reaction to it,” said Tomlinson in an interview with the New York Post. “I don’t spend any of my time thinking about what’s going on there because I’m so focused on this football team and job at hand. I’ve moved on.”

“It doesn’t hurt me, but nothing surprises me because guys want to speak their opinion on things,” said Tomlinson. “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.”

Despite everything, let it be known that Rivers did say last month on NFL Network that Tomlinson’s absence would be felt. So for any Charger fans hoping to see some sort of feud brew between Tomlinson and his former teammates, sorry to disappoint you. Lets just hope that we meet the Jets again this year in the playoffs and make it clear that last year was a fluke.

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