And then, head coach Rex Ryan had his say:
“I think right from when LaDainian burst on the scene as a rookie, he had a major impact. Clearly, he’s one of the all-time great, first-ballot Hall-of-Fame backs. This guy was so consistent throughout his career right up until the end. He was a dominant performer. He could play all three downs. He could do it all — a great receiver out of the backfield, obviously a great runner inside, great runner outside and could pass block. We were fortunate to get him at the end of his career, but he was still outstanding. He still had that great wiggle. (He) almost gained 1,000 yards the first year he came here and he would have had we played him in that last game. However, to his credit, he was like, ‘No, I would like to be rested for the playoffs.’ Then he turned in a great performance in that first playoff game in particular. He was a great guy to have, a tremendous leader, and I feel very fortunate and blessed to have coached him.”
Finally, his positions coach with the Jets, Anthony Lynn:
“LaDainian Tomlinson is one of the best pros I’ve ever been around. We were all blessed to have him in the National Football League as an ambassador of this League and just to have him in the New York Jets organization. He meant a lot to the younger players that looked up to him. The example that he set for those guys was unbelievable. Yes, he was very, very talented. That’s obvious. He’s a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, but he was highly intelligent and worked extremely hard. Coming out of high school, he didn’t have a lot of scholarship offers. At TCU, he developed as he went on, but his first couple of years at TCU, he wasn’t even a starter. This is a guy that has worked his way into the position that he’s in. Sometimes that gets overlooked because people think he is just so talented. He’s very intelligent and he’s a hard worker before being talented. He’s just a pleasure. The game is going to miss him. It’s going to miss him tremendously.”
Fitting tribues for a guy that deserved nothing but. Here’s wishing the best for LaDainian Tomlinson on his retirement. It’s a sad time for the league when a guy that great calls it quits, but he deserves to go out on his own terms.
We should all be so lucky.