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NFL: Tomlinson among Hall of Fame entrants

HOUSTON -- LaDainian Tomlinson is the latest and possibly last San Diego Chargers player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The running back who led the league in scrimmage yards and touchdowns and contributed to the renewed relevance of a franchi...

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Former player LaDainian Tomlinson speaks with the media after being elected into the NFL Hall of Fame on Saturday in Houston.
Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Former player LaDainian Tomlinson speaks with the media after being elected into the NFL Hall of Fame on Saturday in Houston.

HOUSTON - LaDainian Tomlinson is the latest and possibly last San Diego Chargers player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The running back who led the league in scrimmage yards and touchdowns and contributed to the renewed relevance of a franchise over his nine seasons with the Chargers was voted into the Hall on Saturday in his first year of eligibility.

Tomlinson will be enshrined as the 31st running back of the modern era in a ceremony on Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio, along with the rest of the Class of 2017.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and longtime Seattle Seahawks safety Kenny Easley were selected along with Terrell Davis, Jason Taylor, Kurt Warner and Morten Andersen.

Notably absent from the class are former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and wide receiver Terrell Owens, who called the process "flawed" Saturday night after learning the selection committee did not vote for the mercurial receiver in his second year of eligibility.

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Jones purchased the Cowboys in 1989 and became the first owner whose team went to the Super Bowl four times in his first seven years with the franchise. Jones is widely involved in NFL ownership committees, including marketing, sponsorship, television, stadium management, labor negotiations and television.

Tomlinson's former teammates, Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers, stand to be up for Hall consideration after they retire. But unless Gates retires or is released by the Chargers before the 2017 season, Tomlinson will be the last Hall of Famer to have spent his entire time with the Chargers while the team was in San Diego.

In his 11-year career, the last two of which were spent with the New York Jets, Tomlinson scored the second-most rushing touchdowns (145) and third-most scrimmage touchdowns in NFL history (162). He rushed for the fifth-most yards (13,684) in history. His 16,445 scrimmage yards were the fifth highest.

Tomlinson was drafted fifth overall by the Chargers in 2001 after the Chargers finished 1-15 the previous year. The Chargers had the No.1 overall pick and passed on the opportunity to quarterback Michael Vick, instead trading down and taking Tomlinson.

Tomlinson made an immediate impact, rushing for 1,236 yards and 10 touchdowns his rookie season. In 2003, he became the first player in NFL history to catch 100 passes and rush for at least 1,000 yards. In 2006, he was named NFL MVP after leading the league with 1,815 yards and scoring 28 rushing touchdowns and 31 total touchdowns, which both still stand as NFL records.

He is the only player in NFL history to score at least 10 rushing touchdowns in nine straight seasons. Only Jerry Rice, with 10, had a longer streak with at least 10 scrimmage touchdowns in a season.

He is the only player to ever rush for at least 1,100 yards in each of his first eight seasons.

In those first eight seasons, Tomlinson missed just one game - and he was angry about that. It was the 2004 season finale and Marty Schottenheimer rested his stars in advance of the playoffs.

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