Chargers and Tomlinson agree

The San Diego Chargers made a huge step towards the future of the franchise by locking up arguably their most famous player of all time, LaDainian Tomlinson.<br><br> The running back, entering his fourth year in the league has already established himself as one of the best backs in the history of the game and he is about to be paid as such.

After practice on Thursday, LaDainian Tomlinson confirmed that he has agreed in principle to a deal that will make him the highest paid back in the league.

Tomlinson became the first running back in NFL history to have 100 receptions and 1,000 yards rushing in a single season. His 100 receptions were enough to top the AFC and place him fourth in the league.

Tomlinson added two-200 yard rushing games, including a 243 yard effort against Oakland to break his own franchise record yards in a single game. It marked the fourth he broke 200-yards rushing in his career, making him the second fastest player in NFL history to reach the 200-yard four separate times (48 games). Earl Campbell did it in 46 games, but did not have another in his career. Tomlinson's four 200-yard games also are tied for second place in league history, along with Jim Brown, Campbell and Barry Sanders. The record for 200-yard games is six, held by OJ Simpson.

Tomlinson even met his personal goal for the 2003 season – have an average of 5.0 yards per carry on the season. He carried the rock 313 times to average 5.3 yards per carry.

Tomlinson became just the fifth back to score ten touchdowns in the first three seasons of his career. Earl Campbell, Eric Dickerson, Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders are the others.

Yet, Tomlinson did not make the Pro Bowl in 2003.

Tomlinson was more than just records. He personally converted 107 first downs, accounting for 41% of the Chargers first downs. On third and one he was 8-12, a huge improvement from a year ago.

Don't forget the 17 touchdowns LT scored, just less than half the total touchdowns scored by the team (38). He also added a touchdown pass, traversing 21 yards to Drew Brees.

Need a big play? LT had 12 runs of 20 yards or more on the season, adding seven more as a receiver.

"He's the best running back I've ever seen," Schottenheimer said then and said again now.

Forget the stats, Tomlinson displayed determination when the team was at its lowest point. He became vocal as the season moved along and has taken it personally that he was not voted to the Pro Bowl. His demeanor screams of a winning attitude and he deserves to succeed. One back, two back sets, it does not matter – LT makes his own holes.

"When you win a game, it makes it more fun to talk about it and the team can celebrate," says Tomlinson. That is the attitude he exudes.

"I'm not a quitter," Tomlinson added. "I can't think of anything else I want more of than to just taste what the playoffs feel like."

He is the ultimate professional, on and off the field. He has the best hands in the business as seen by his output as a receiver. In 413 touches, he had just one fumble and it was recovered by the Bolts. Simply amazing.

"I want to be here when people say what the organization used to be when they were down, and now these guys are up and they are winning. And I want to be a part of that group."

The contract is expected to be signed this weekend.

SD Super Chargers Top Stories