LaDainian Tomlinson: Chargers would have won Super Bowl with Drew Brees

Did the Chargers make a mistake not keeping Brees? (1:35)

The NFL Insiders crew weigh in on if the Chargers and Saints have each underachieved since San Diego let Brees sign a free-agent deal with New Orleans 10 years ago. (1:35)

SAN DIEGO -- Good morning.

ESPN NFL Insider Chris Mortensen had an interesting conversation with former San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

Days before Drew Brees makes his return to San Diego this weekend with the New Orleans Saints, Tomlinson said that the Chargers would have won the Super Bowl in the 2006 season had San Diego brought back Brees instead of going with Philip Rivers.

The Chargers finished 14-2 that year, but lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC divisional playoffs at home. Led by Peyton Manning, the Indianapolis Colts went on to win the Super Bowl that season.

"Drew was never going to relinquish that job -- it became his team,” Tomlinson said. “I mean, they both may end up in the Hall of Fame but at that time, I'll say it again: If Drew had been our quarterback, we would have won the Super Bowl [in 2006]. A lot of guys on the team felt that way about Drew. It was so unfortunate.”

My take: The Chargers appeared concerned about paying Brees market value because of his shoulder issue, and that’s understandable. The team also had a quarterback in waiting in Rivers. It’s an interesting debate, but I’m not sure you can question the organization’s decision with how Rivers’ career has turned out. The more questionable decision was letting go of Marty Schottenheimer as the head coach.

NFL Nation Saints reporter Mike Triplett writes that New Orleans is getting healthier, with receiver Willie Snead and Kenny Vaccaro returning to practice. Both are confident they will play Sunday.

My take: Don’t sleep on the 0-3 Saints, folks. This could be a tough game for the Chargers this weekend.

Michael Gehlken of The San Diego Union-Tribune writes that Melvin Ingram raised $120,000 for his Mission Impossible foundation, which serves low-income, inner-city youth. Ingram was named defensive co-captain in place of Manti Te’o, who was placed on injured reserve this week.

My take: Ingram will lead with his play on the field and also can provide another voice to create energy on game day.

Marty Caswell of The Mighty 1090 AM Radio talks with rookie tight end Hunter Henry about correcting the mistakes the Chargers made against the Colts in this video.

My take: Henry owns up to the fumble he made at the end of the game and said the Chargers have to do a better job of front of blocking in the running game.