LaDainian Tomlinson, the last running back to win the NFL MVP after a scintillating 2006 season, retired Monday after signing a one-day contract with the San Diego Chargers. He played his final two seasons with the New York Jets.
Tomlinson received 44 of 50 MVP votes after leading the Chargers to a 14-2 record with a career-high 1,815 rushing yards, 508 receiving yards and 31 combined touchdowns (an NFL-record 28 rushing, three receiving and two passing for good measure). Saints quarterback Drew Brees received four votes and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning had two.
Tomlinson sealed his MVP fate by scoring multiple touchdowns for eight consecutive weeks. In 2006, he scored four touchdowns three times and three touchdowns three times. He rushed for more than 170 yards on four occasions, racking up a season-high 199 against the Chiefs.
MVP consideration is becoming considerably scarcer for running backs in the increasingly pass-happy NFL. Quarterbacks have won the last five awards, with only eight of a combined 250 votes going to running backs. Tomlinson, a surefire Hall of Famer, never received another MVP vote in his career.