NFL

San Diego Chargers’ Mount Rushmore

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The San Diego Chargers are one of those franchises that have never won a Super Bowl title, but they haven’t been short of great talent over the years. With that being said, let’s take a look at their Mount Rushmore of players.

LaDainian Tomlinson – When you think about the history of Chargers football, there’s a great chance that Ladainian Tomlinson comes to mind first.

Back in 2001, L.T. was selected as the fifth-overall pick in the NFL Draft and he lived up to every expectation laid upon him.

Tomlinson spent 11 seasons in the league, but his first nine are what we’re discussing today.

The former TCU great led the league in rushing twice (2006 and 2007) while leading the league in rushing touchdowns in three different seasons (2004, 2006 and 2007).

What makes Tomlinson so great is that he was much more than just a running back. He was also a legitimate threat in the passing game.

In 2003, Tomlinson totaled 100 catches for 725 yards to go along with four receiving touchdowns.

Sure, Tomlinson fell short of winning a Super Bowl title, but there’s no denying the impact the former MVP of the league made during his time in San Diego.

Junior Seau – There’s only one defensive player on this list and it’s more than deserved.

The late great Junior Seau was an absolute beast in the middle of the field, as he was one of those players that gave offensive coordinators headaches during the week.

Just like Tomlinson, Seau was the fifth-overall pick of his draft class in 1990.

Seau spent his first 13 seasons in San Diego, in which he made the Pro Bowl 12 times, while being named a first-team all-pro eight times.

After Seau left San Diego in 2002, he spent a few seasons in both Miami and New England, but he wasn’t the player we become accustom to.

Dan Fouts – Philip Rivers is in the midst of a very good career, but he’s still behind Dan Fouts for being the best quarterback in franchise history.

Unlike Tomlinson and Seau, Fouts wasn’t highly sought after during the draft.

The Chargers all-time leading passer was a third round pick out of Oregon.

Fouts entire 15-year career was spent in San Diego and it was fulfilled to his best ability. The now CBS analyst was a 6-time Pro Bowler, 2-time first team all pro and won MVP honors in 1982.

Sure, Fouts passing was never pretty, but he got the job done.

Fouts led the league in passing four different seasons (1979-1982), while being the touchdown passing leader two different times (1981 and 1982).

No matter the success San Diego experiences at the quarterback position in the future, Fouts will always be remembered for his contributions.

Antonio Gates – When ranking tight ends, Antonio Gates is arguably one of the best ever, but as far as San Diego goes, he’s the best to ever rock the powder blue.

At his size of 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, Gates is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.

Considering Gates used to play basketball, he’s agile enough to shake loose against defensive backs and he’s strong enough to break tackles from linebackers in the middle of the field.

Gates has been named to eight Pro Bowls and the crazy thing is that if not for nagging injuries, it would have been more than that.

Nonetheless, Gates is apart of the 10,000 receiving yard club and he has a total of 104 touchdowns for his career.

Interesting enough, Gates went undrafted.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.