- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

From combined dispatches

Chargers president Dean Spanos seemed to have the best perspective on the LaDainian Tomlinson saga.

“The alternative was just unthinkable. He belongs in San Diego,” Spanos said after the Chargers and Tomlinson agreed to a reworked three-year deal late Tuesday.

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Tomlinson feels the same way. That’s because the alternative, of course, would have been for the star running back to be released had the sides not reached a deal. Even as talks dragged on and speculation mounted that the 2006 NFL MVP might be finished in San Diego, Tomlinson never envisioned joining another team.

“I still maintained the belief that I would be a Charger,” Tomlinson said Wednesday. “They drafted me here, and I’ve been here for eight years and loved every minute of it, and I just couldn’t see myself putting on another uniform.

“That Charger uniform, that 21 with the bolt on the side of my helmet, that’s pretty special,” Tomlinson said. “You really can’t replace that. So I’m just happy to be putting that helmet on again.”

PANTHERS: Carolina released starting cornerback Ken Lucas in a move that clears about $2.3 million in salary cap space.

The Panthers had been trying to work out a trade for the veteran, but Lucas vetoed a deal to Detroit last month, and the Panthers cut him loose after he struggled late last season.

The Panthers signed Lucas to a six-year, $36 million free agent deal in 2005, and he has started 49 of 50 games with 13 interceptions.

CHIEFS: Kansas City cut quarterback Quinn Gray, who played in one game for the team last season.

The Chiefs announced that they had terminated his contract. Gray was among four backup quarterbacks for the Chiefs after they traded for Matt Cassel from New England.

Gray was also a reserve for Jacksonville before signing with Kansas City.

JETS: New York signed former Patriots linebacker and special teams standout Larry Izzo.

Izzo, 34, played the past eight seasons with New England and made the Pro Bowl as a special teamer in 2000, 2002 and 2004. He had 14 tackles on special teams last season, the eighth time he has led his team in that category.

Izzo has 257 special teams tackles in 188 regular-season games over 13 seasons.

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