What is LaDainian Tomlinson’s Jets Legacy?
By Alan Schechter
Dec 11, 2011; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson (21) reacts to the touchdown late in the 2nd quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Pearlmany/The Star-Ledger via US PRESSWIRE
After a much heralded carerr with the San Diego Chargers, LaDainian Tomlinson spent two years with the New York Jets with one goal in mind, to win a Super Bowl. He was a veteran leader that the Jets needed. With Tomlinson’s pending retirement announcement later on today, we take a look back and ask the question. What is Tomlinson’s Jets legacy?
LaDainian ran with a purpose, every time he touched the football. Despite the feeling that he was finished upon his arrival in 2010, he took the reigns and beat out Shonn Greene for the starting running back position. He finished that year with a team high 914 yards.
He made an amazing team gesture in the final game of that 2010 season. He only needed 86 yards to reach 1,000 yards rushing for the 9th time, but he instead of going for it, sat out the game in order to rest up for the playoffs. Why? Because his only goal as a football player was to win a Super Bowl.
He also embraced his role as a secondary player in 2011 for the same reason. To win a Super Bowl.
But he never got there.
His legacy in New York may be tainted, as he fell short in his chance in the 2010 title game. He was held to 16 yards on 9 carries, and had his chance on a big play. When the Jets were trying to come back from 14 down against the Steelers, LDT got the ball on a fourth and one.
He saw daylight to the endzone, and went for his familiar leap over the pile. Unfortunately he never got up in the air, was stuffed and the Jets lost.
And following the 2011 season, he may have tainted his legacy even further, by being candid.
He sat down for “Inside the NFL”, and told the host team that the Jets locker room problems were “as bad as I’ve ever been around”. This resonated with the Jets because it wasn’t coming from just anyone.
He continued to say Mark Sanchez was a bit “pampered”, and that Rex Ryan’s boldness hurt the team. The team heard it, and felt it, but they never said anything about him. That’s how beloved his voice is by the team and the NFL community in general.
Was Tomlinson thinking about a career in TV? Was he already aware he wasn’t coming back to the Jets when he made his comments? Was he just being honest?
Whatever the reasons, his candor may have tainted his legacy, especially his legacy in New York. If it did, it’s a shame.
LaDainian Tomlinson is, and was a classy guy, and he did his job quite well with the New York Jets.
Congratulatons on your retirement LDT, it’s well deserved.