NFL: Jets’ Tomlinson says film of last year misleading
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Sports Writer
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — LaDainian Tomlinson says you shouldn't believe everything you see on film when it comes to his last few seasons in San Diego.
The New York Jets' newest running back said Thursday after a team workout that several factors led to his decreased production with the Chargers.
"The things that happened in San Diego, everything was taken away from me," Tomlinson said. "There wasn't an emphasis on running the football anymore, my best fullback was gone, the linemen were pass blocking and it was a passing quarterback and a passing coach. So, the situation's kind of misleading when you look on film."
Tomlinson, who signed a two-year deal worth about $5.2 million with the Jets last month, has a point about San Diego's offensive focus. He was no longer the center of the Chargers' attack the last few seasons. Instead, coach Norv Turner increasingly allowed Philip Rivers to throw the ball down the field.
The eighth-leading rusher in NFL history was cut in February after nine seasons in San Diego and a career-low 730 yards rushing and 3.3 yards per carry. There was speculation after the 2008 season that the Chargers might try to trade or even release him, and Tomlinson said he was unhappy with the team after last season.
"To be honest with you, I felt like last year was going to be my last year in San Diego," he said. "After the problems we had the previous year with the organization, I knew it was time to leave. The transition wasn't as hard because I kind of prepared myself for it and I was ready to kind of move on to something else."
Tomlinson turns 31 in June, but insists he hasn't lost a step and can still make defensive players miss. He's also motivated by those who say he's washed up — the 30-and-done running back rule — and is no longer a dangerous player.
"It really doesn't bother me as much because I accept everything as a challenge and that's fine with me," he said. "I can stick that on my wall and look at it everyday and it can motivate me to go out and work hard. At this stage of my career, I've got to outwork everybody else and prove that I can still play."
That's a big reason he's participating in voluntary workouts this offseason.
"I think the most important thing is getting here and working out, having guys see how I work," Tomlinson said. "You build a chemistry through the offseason by lifting weights and running. Guys see how you work and judge it from there."
With the Jets, Tomlinson is expected to be a complement to Shonn Greene, who was promising during his rookie season. Tomlinson thinks they can help each other stay fresh by sharing carries.
"Shonn and I work well together," said Tomlinson, whose locker is next to Greene's. "Hopefully we're like Jordan and Pippen."
Tomlinson chose the Jets over the Minnesota Vikings because of his familiarity with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's system and the chance to win a championship. He also relishes the opportunity to play in the AFC East, particularly against the Patriots.
"It's going to be fun," he said. "The Patriots have always been one of them teams that, it's hard for me to swallow that pill of losing to them, so it's going to fun to play them twice a year. And, it's going to be one of my main goals to beat them twice."
The dining options have also made for a smooth adjustment from Southern California to New York.
"Well, I never was a sushi guy," he said, laughing. "I love Italian food and pizza, obviously, so it's been great. With my wife being pregnant, she loves that type of food, so all the better."
NOTES: New CB Antonio Cromartie said his paternity issues are taken care of, but added that the Jets' decision to advance him $500,000 of his $1.7 million contract to help wasn't because he asked. "There was no request made at all," said Cromartie, who has fathered seven children in five states with six women. "The Jets wanted me to get all my off-the-field issues settled. It's done. That was the biggest thing for me."