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L.T. Nearly Joined Broncos Before Retiring

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LaDainian Tomlinson holds a San Diego Chargers jersey during his retirement announcement at Qualcomm Stadium on June 18, 2012 in San Diego, California. (credit: Kent C. Horner/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBS SPORTS) - Earlier this week, running back LaDainian Tomlinson retired from the NFL, and San Diego owner Dean Spanos, who signed Tomlinson to a one-day contract for a press conference finale, said he was “a Charger now and forever.”

Except, as UT San Diego reports, Tomlinson almost considered playing for (gasp!) the Broncos and with Peyton Manning in 2012.

That’s right. Tomlinson nearly went to one of the Chargers biggest AFC West rivals. “The only team I really gave a thought to was the Broncos, because of Peyton,” Tomlinson said Saturday. “We talked. Tom (Condon, Tomlinson’s agent) talked with them … It made me pause a little (and think), ‘Was this what I really want to do?’ … I said, ‘They got Peyton, they have a good defense already; they went deep in the playoffs with Tim Tebow, what are they going to do with Peyton?’ I seriously thought about it.”

Obviously, he didn’t do it. But think about that — the guy who spent nine years with the Chargers, racking up 12,490 yards and 138 touchdowns, almost extended his career so he could try to beat San Diego twice a year and keep the Chargers at home for the playoffs. As columnist Kevin Acee writes, “But, oh, how feelings [for Tomlinson] might have been different had our man decided to continue chasing his dreams … it hurts to even say … [at] mile high.”

Then again, Tomlinson said if he could have retired a Charger before going to the New York Jets for two seasons, he gladly would have done that. “If we would have won the Super Bowl after nine years,” he said, “I would have retired a Charger. Then I wouldn’t even have gone to New York.” A chance at a Super Bowl was the big reason he went to New York in the first place. And trying to win a Super Bowl would have been the only reason to play for the Broncos.

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