San Diego Chargers Mount Rushmore

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During the month of June, the Last Word On Sports NFL department will construct a Mount Rushmore for each team. For this series, we will only consider players. Today’s spotlight is on the San Diego Chargers.

San Diego Chargers Mount Rushmore

Dan Fouts

Dan Fouts is the greatest quarterback in Chargers history and he played in the most explosive offense of his era.  San Diego spent eight seasons as a top five offense with Fouts at the helm of Don Coryell’s high-powered offensive scheme. Fouts won MVP in 1982, averaging 320 yards per game in a shortened nine game season due to the players strike.

Fouts played all 15 seasons of his great career in San Diego and he finished his career as the all-time Chargers leader in passing yards and touchdowns, which is a record that still stands today. Best remembered for his cannon of an arm, Fouts enjoyed a great deal of statistical success and longevity. He has six Pro Bowls to his name, he had his #14 jersey retired by the Chargers, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.

Lance Alworth

Most Charger fans weren’t alive when Lance Alworth was in his prime, but that doesn’t make his career any less illustrious. Alworth is one of the best receivers in AFL history. He is second in receiving yards in the AFL record books, and he played in three of the 10 AFL championship games. Alworth is a member of the only championship team in Charger history, as they won the 1963 AFL championship during his second year. Alworth was voted all-AFL for seven consecutive years, and he incredibly caught a pass in every one of the 96 AFL game he played. He averaged an impressive 50 catches and 1,000 yards per season. Alworth has the prestige of being the first AFL player to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as he was inducted in 1978. His #19 jersey is retired by the Chargers.

Junior Seau

There isn’t much to say about the late Junior Seau as a San Diego Charger that hasn’t already been said. Seau was born in San Diego, played at USC, and was drafted 5th overall by the team in 1990.  Seau then became the greatest defensive player in the history of the franchise. Right away his impact was felt, as he started 15 of 16 games and received the nod as a Pro Bowl alternate in his rookie year. The following season, Seau had 129 tackles and was voted to his first of 12 straight Pro Bowls. Seau averaged almost 99 tackles per season in San Diego and he played in 200 games over his time as a Charger. In 1994, Seau led the Chargers to their first and only Super Bowl appearance after having a dominant 155-tackle season. He was named the Chargers’ team MVP six times, he is the team’s all-time tackles leader, and he had his #55 jersey retired by the team.

Seau founded the Junior Seau foundation in 1992, which he created with the mission of empowering and educating young people. It celebrated its 20th year in 2012. Seau is a sports icon in San Diego on and off the field and although he passed away in 2012, he will forever remain in the hearts of Charger fans.

LaDainian Tomlinson

As the most recent Charger to get his number retired, Tomlinson was one of the most dominant players in the NFL during his prime. Tomlinson came into the league and gained 1,603 yards from scrimmage as a rookie.  He would continue that trend, gaining at least 1,500 total yards and 1,000 rushing yards in all but one season in San Diego. However, Tomlinson was far from just a great runner. He was a dependable pass blocker for quarterbacks Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, he was a great receiver out of the backfield (100 receptions in 2003), and he was even able to pass the ball, finishing his career with seven touchdown passes, which is the second-most all-time for a non-quarterback.

Tomlinson was blessed with speed, agility, and vision, but he also put in the work in the weight room, becoming a highly underrated power runner. These traits allowed him to inscribe his name in the record books, setting the NFL record for touchdowns in a single season with 31 in 2006. “L.T.” won two rushing titles in 2006 and 2007, was a six-time All-Pro, finished second all-time in rushing touchdowns, and finished third all-time in total touchdowns. He didn’t finish his career in San Diego, but Chargers fans will always remember his greatness.

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