Calling Ponce de Leon! Can LaDainian Tomlinson Find the Fountain of Youth in New York?

March 26, 2010 – 9:15 am by Chris Fedor

New York Jets Running Back LaDainian Tomlinson.  That’s tough for me to even type.  For so many years, he was not only the running back for the Chargers, but he was the face of the franchise.  Now, he is a New York Jet.  When Tomlinson was released in San Diego it was a sad day for Chargers fans and LDT fans all over the world, but he quickly landed on his feet.  It came down to New York and Minnesota and for a multitude of reasons that Tomlinson explains in this interview, he picked the Big Apple.  I think this is a great move for the Jets.  The naysayers will point to him being 31-years-old this upcoming season and coming off the worst year of his career.  Those two facts can’t be ignored.  But you also can’t ignore the fact that LDT had less of a role in the offense because of the emergence of Philip Rivers.  And you also can’t ignore the Chargers offensive line constantly shuffled different pieces in and out and wasn’t really that good.  Tomlinson has lost a step.  That’s crystal clear when you watch him play.  However, a lesser Tomlinson in the right role will be a big boost to any playoff contending team.

In New York, Tomlinson has arguably the best offensive line in the entire NFL and will be able to share the workload with up and comer Shonn Greene which means the expectations won’t be as high as they were for him in San Diego.  I’m not saying that he’s going to return to his former Pro Bowl form, but this is a low risk/high reward move for the Jets as Tomlinson doesn’t have to the featured back, something that he can no longer be at this point in his career.

LaDainian Tomlinson joined ESPN 103.3 in Dallas with Galloway and Company to talk about how tough it was for him at his farewell press conference in San Diego, on how much Brett Favre’s decision had to do with his choice, whether or not he talked to Brett Favre, and why he chose to go to the Jets.

On how tough it was at his final press conference in San Diego:

“It really did and the main reason it did is thinking about what my family has been through.  The changing of so many years of being in San Diego and dealing with the change and my family worrying about the next step.  It was.  It kinda got to me.  By no means was it sad as far as leaving San Diego as far as football wise because I thought it was time to.  It was more of the fact of what my family was going through.”

On how much Brett Favre’s decision affected his choice to go to New York:

“That wasn’t totally it.  Obviously that was a big decision to make.  Thinking was Brett coming back or not.  In my mind I really felt like he was and ultimately I just kinda had to do what was best for me.  The thing that made the biggest decision for me was having to switch offense, going to a West Coast Offense.  I had played in this offense my whole career that the Jets run.  Really that was the deciding factor.”

On how much communication he had with Favre prior to making his decision:

“We exchanged text messages and Brett was really fair.  He gave me some options to look at and it was great to get his opinion.”

On how he is going to adjust to his lesser role with the Jets:

“I think in any situation, when you go into a brand new situation, you cannot come in with the mindset of starting.  When I left high school, going to TCU, I didn’t come in saying I was gonna be the starter.  I was going in to try to find a role on the football team.  You’ve got 53 guys, well really 65 guys, fighting for a position and a role on the football team and that’s the same situation.”

On how he thinks he will work with Shonn Greene:

“We’re gonna work well together.  I think he and I complement each other.  Shonn is a great up and coming young back and I look forward to working with him.  He has a great style of running the football, very physical style, and I think we will complement each other well.  We’re after the same thing.  We wanna win a championship.  We’re gonna work well together and I think it’s gonna be a great relationship.”

On what he thinks of Rex Ryan:

“Yeah, I was able to talk to Rex a lot and you know what?  I really like Rex.  It’s easy for the people on the outside looking in to kinda judge him and say what they think about him, but when you get to know him, this is a guy you would love to play for.  He’s a football coach, but he’s an old school type of football coach and I believe I’m an old school type of football player.  Obviously with the game evolving these days with throwing the ball all over the field, I’m still a guy that loves to run the football. Rex feels the same way.  I really enjoyed him.”

Listen to LaDainian Tomlinson on ESPN 103.3 in Dallas here

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  1. 5 Responses to “Calling Ponce de Leon! Can LaDainian Tomlinson Find the Fountain of Youth in New York?”

  2. as a life long chargers fan i was saddened by the departure and decision the chargers made to cut LT. i understand that football is more business then anything else. its a multi billion dollar business and unfortunately for that reason football itself has really changed. im a strong believer in loyalty and truly believed LT was as loyal as any player could be for a team. for that as a fan, and for many others reasons i will always be greatful for what he has done for san diego. lets face it, the chargers have always been a struggling team and in the world arena, not much of a championship contender. that is until LT came and basically put the chargers on the map. the chargers were not much of a succesful team before him and he alone basically put them on the map. the chargers have a tremendous amount of talent on their roster, but not one compares the type of player LT is, even to this day, in his somewhat declining years. i read, watch and study all i can about the chargers, simply because im a fan. because of this i can say, i dont think this last season was a fair assesment of what LT still has left in the tank. even though the jets are somewhat of our conference rivals, i will root and cheer for them as well as my chargers, because i WANT LT to win a ring. no one player to me is more deserving of one then LT, because of that reason i will cheer for a team that i have despised for so many years. thats the kind of player LT is. im not sure if he reads these type of posts at all, but if he does, all i would like to say is thank you LT. Thank you for the memories, thank you for the class you bring a to a game that quite honestly less and less players are bringing of. the heart, dedication and love that you have for this game is very apparent, and not many players out their show. in a time where players are more ruled by dollars then love for the game, no matter what youre team may be, you have a fan here for life, simply because i truly love the purity of this game, and you embody the purity of a football player and the heart of a champion. if for some reason that ring elludes you for the remainder of your career, know that to me you are a champion. thank you LT.

    By gus camacho on Mar 27, 2010

  3. Who’s LDT?

    By Eric on Mar 27, 2010

  4. I disagree Gus. Charger were on the map before LDT (there is only 1 LT) and they will be fine after him. Do you remember Means? he was a great RB before LDT. LDT was great for 5 seasons, and showed his true colors moping on the bench during the last few. The Chargers need to improve their front line, granted, but even when LDT got in the open field he made very few good gains. I wish him the best, but am not sorry to see him go.

    By Ben on Mar 28, 2010

  5. ben, of course i remember Means, but remember what happened to him? he didnt last very long. LT was the best running back in the league for the better part of his first 7 seasons. yes the past couple seasons hes been dealing with a few injuries here and there, but before him, and not since Means have the chargers really been that succesful. i consider myself a huge chargers fan, but being a fan also means we have to be honest here. chargers have struggled in the past before LT. Im not saying hes the only reason the chargers are where they are, division leaders, but he was a huge reason for their success. there a reason hes a sure hall of famer. he was just that good. i think any great player with a reduced role would mop a bit. and yes the chargers will continue to be good, i dont doubt that one bit. great QB and great WR, as well as the talent on the defensive side. AJ smith is very good at picking up talent, but quite frankly we all have to admit, the chargers are where they have been because of of what LT or how you like to say it LDT, has done for them.

    By gus camacho on Mar 28, 2010

  6. Guys, LT has been “done” in SD for a few years. He is now fully afraid of contact (and thank God the Jets took our other wuss in Cromartie!!!) and he couldn’t lead a herd of cattle let alone a football team. His enduring image in SD will be with his helmet on with the blackened visor and the overcoat covering his jersey during the playoff game acting like a petulant teenager who didn’t get what he wanted for Christmas. He was THE best RB in the league for at least 5 years early in his career – and statistically he will go down as a top-5 all time RB.And yes – there was only 1 LT – Ladanian Tomlinson. The junkie linebacker who that tool was referring to was a jackal and has been a stain on humanity since the day he was born. Go #17 and Go BOLTS!!!!

    By Barry Bolt on Mar 29, 2010

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