For Jets LaDainian Tomlinson, Ray Lewis is ultimate mentor

By Marc A. Greenberg

If you missed the NJ Star Ledger yesterday, there was an article by Jenny Vrentas describing the relationship that has formed over the past 10 years between New York Jets RB LaDainian Tomlinson and LB Baltimore Ravens Ray Lewis.

It started in 2003 after a San Diego Chargers-Baltimore Ravens game.  Tomlinson, then of the Chargers approached Lewis for some advice.

“I said, ‘Ray, my team is struggling. How do I lead these guys? What do I need to do?’ ” Tomlinson said. “He gave me his number and said, ‘Call me. We need to talk.’ And we’ve been talking ever since.”

Lewis’ advise to LT:   “If they see it is affecting you, you are not working as hard in practice, they’re going to do the same,” Lewis said, according to Tomlinson. “But if you continue to push guys, and work hard in practice — say something, step up — eventually it starts to change. The atmosphere, the mindset of losing, starts to change.”

In his 11th season, with Lewis in his 16th, LT says the same thing is said everytime Lewis makes a tackle on him: “The one thing he always says to me is, ‘You know it’s me, LT. It’s me again,’ ” Tomlinson said mimicking Lewis. “He starts laughing, and I laugh back. I’m going to get him. He may tackle me, but if it’s one-on-one, I’m going to get him.”