On Saturday, LaDainian Tomlinson will be in Canton getting inducted into the Hall of Fame. Two of his longtime Chargers teammates, Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, will not be there to cheer them on, though it appears they’d sure like to be.
Yesterday, the Sporting News published a report alleging that rookie head coach Anthony Lynn is barring Rivers and Gates from attending the ceremony in Canton, because the Chargers will be holding their first scrimmage on Saturday afternoon. The report also claimed that Gates, who was closer to Tomlinson, may go anyway, even if he’s fined for it.
You can already picture Lynn’s motivations, even if it’s painfully common for coaches to give players time off to go celebrate their former teammates. (Larry Fitzgerald will be in Canton to see Kurt Warner inducted, for example.) Lynn wants to show that no player is bigger than the team; he doesn’t want to lose a day of camp; he doesn’t want to put on the first scrimmage in a new city and for a new fanbase without two of the team’s biggest names. Blah blah blah. Whatever.
Lynn addressed the report after practice yesterday, and while some headlines are framing this as him denying the Sporting News report, I’m not actually seeing a denial in there.
“I’ve talked to Philip,” Lynn said. “I’ve talked to Antonio. I’ve even talked to LT. We’re all on the same page. At the end of the day, we’re going to make the best decision for our football team. And that’s it.”
Okay, but who’s this “we” that’s making this decision?
“Those guys are torn a little bit because we’re having our first practice in StubHub with the Rams, and they want to be there with their teammates,” Lynn said. “We’ll see. I’m sure they’ll make the best decision.”
Oh, so it’s their decision?
Asked to clarify who will make the decision, Lynn said: “It will be our decision. We’ll make the best decision for our team.”
Lynn is being so cagey about what’s actually happening here that I’m forced to assume the initial report was correct. Especially when Antonio Gates says things like, “Hopefully, I can be there to attend” LT’s induction.
Just let him go! Jesus. This isn’t that hard. Nobody in Los Angeles cares about your dumb team anyway.