Chargers President Dean Spanos said he told Tomlinson of the decision, ending a relationship that began when San Diego choose Tomlinson with the fifth overall pick of the 2001 draft.
He went on to set 28 team records, including career rushing yards (12,490 yards, No. 8 on the all-time NFL rushing list) and touchdowns, with 153 with 138 of those coming on rushes. He led the NFL in rushing in 2006 and 2007 and his 31 touchdowns in the 2006 season mark an NFL record.
Tomlinson was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and a member of the NFL's 2000s all-decade team.
"I respect LT as much or more than any player I've ever known," Spanos said. "And no one appreciates his contributions to this organization more than I do. That is why this is such a difficult announcement for me to make. …
"No matter where he chooses to continue his career, in my mind LT will always be a San Diego Charger. His legacy as one of the greatest running backs the game has ever seen will be as a Charger."