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Tomlinson had the lowest output of his brilliant eight-year career just two seasons after winning the league MVP award, setting records with 31 touchdowns and 186 points, and winning the first of two straight rushing titles.
He said he felt nervous standing on the sideline Saturday night.
"I think the thing that's toughest to me is knowing I have no control. I can't make any plays out there for the team. That's the hardest thing for me. I haven't been in that position too much where I just had to stand over there and watch."
Tomlinson said he was proud of Sproles.
"Anytime a guy gets an opportunity, you want him to do well, especially when it's one of your guys and you're all out for the same goal. We always talk about how we're going to need each other and it's not more important than it is now. We definitely need him."
Besides Sproles, the Chargers have Michael Bennett, a late-season pickup, and rookie Jacob Hester.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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