LaDainian Tomlinson

Last updated

LaDainian Tomlinson
LaDainian Tomlinson 2017 closeup.jpg
Tomlinson in 2017
No. 21
Position: Running back
Personal information
Born: (1979-06-23) June 23, 1979 (age 39)
Rosebud, Texas
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school: University (Waco, Texas)
College: TCU
NFL Draft: 2001  / Round: 1 / Pick: 5
Career history
Career highlights and awards
NFL records
  • 28 rushing touchdowns, season (2006)
  • 31 touchdowns from scrimmage, season (2006)
  • 18 consecutive games with a touchdown (tied)
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:13,684
Yards per carry:4.3
Rushing touchdowns:145
Receptions:624
Receiving yards:4,772
Receiving touchdowns:17
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

LaDainian Tramayne Tomlinson (born June 23, 1979) is a former professional American football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for eleven seasons. He is widely considered one of the greatest running backs of all time. [1] He played the majority of his career with the San Diego Chargers, who selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft. Tomlinson was invited to five Pro Bowls, was an All-Pro six times, and won consecutive rushing titles in 2006 and 2007. At the time of his retirement, he ranked fifth in career rushing yards (13,684), seventh in all-purpose yards (18,456), second in career rushing touchdowns (145), and third in total touchdowns (162). He currently serves as an analyst on NFL Network. After being elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014, Tomlinson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August 2017, his first year of eligibility.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Running back position in American and Canadian football

A running back (RB) is an American and Canadian football position, a member of the offensive backfield. The primary roles of a running back are to receive handoffs from the quarterback for a rushing play, to catch passes from out of the backfield, and to block. There are usually one or two running backs on the field for a given play, depending on the offensive formation. A running back may be a halfback, a wingback or a fullback. A running back will sometimes be called a "feature back" if he is the team's starting running back.

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

Contents

Tomlinson played college football for Texas Christian University (TCU), earned consensus All-America honors, and won the Doak Walker Award as the best college running back. He spent nine seasons with the Chargers. During the 2006 NFL season, he set several NFL touchdown scoring records and received numerous honors and awards including the NFL's Most Valuable Player Award and the Associated Press's Offensive Player of the Year Award. In 2010, he signed as a free agent with the New York Jets, playing for two seasons before retiring after 2011.

Texas Christian University private university in Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Texas Christian University (TCU) is a private Christian-based, coeducational university in Fort Worth, Texas, established in 1873 by brothers Addison and Randolph Clark as the Add-Ran Male & Female College.

The College Football All-America Team is an honor given annually to the best American college football players at their respective positions. The original use of the term All-America seems to have been to the 1889 College Football All-America Team selected by Caspar Whitney and published in This Week's Sports in association with football pioneer Walter Camp. Camp took over the responsibility for picking the All-America team and was recognized as the official selector in the early years of the 20th century.

The Doak Walker Award, first awarded in 1990, honors the top running back in college football in the United States. It is named in honor of Doak Walker, a star halfback in college for the SMU Mustangs and in the National Football League for the Detroit Lions. The 2018 winner of the Doak Walker Award was Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin. The award requires all candidates to be:

Tomlinson is often referred to by his initials, L.T. [2] [3] An effective passer on halfback option plays, Tomlinson threw seven touchdown passes and ranks second behind Walter Payton (8) for non-quarterbacks since the AFL–NFL merger in 1970. [4] [5] He was named to the NFL's 2000s All-Decade Team as one of the top running backs of the 2000s.

Walter Payton American football running back, Pro Football Hall of Famer

Walter Jerry Payton was an American football running back who played for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) for thirteen seasons. Payton was known around the NFL as "Sweetness". A nine-time Pro Bowl selectee, Payton is remembered as a prolific rusher, once holding records for career rushing yards, touchdowns, carries, yards from scrimmage, all-purpose yards, and many other categories. He was also versatile, and retired with the most receptions by a non-receiver, and had eight career touchdown passes. He was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996. Hall of Fame NFL player and coach Mike Ditka described Payton as the greatest football player he had ever seen—but even greater as a human being.

Quarterback position in gridiron football

A quarterback, colloquially known as the "signal caller", is a position in American and Canadian football. Quarterbacks are members of the offensive team and line up directly behind the offensive line. In modern American football, the quarterback is usually considered the leader of the offensive team, and is often responsible for calling the play in the huddle. The quarterback also touches the ball on almost every offensive play, and is the offensive player that almost always throws forward passes.

The AFL–NFL merger was the merger of the two major professional American football leagues in the United States at the time: the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL). It paved the way for the combined league, which retained the "National Football League" name and logo, to become one of the most popular sports leagues in the United States. The merger was announced on the evening of June 8, 1966. Under the merger agreement, the leagues maintained separate regular-season schedules for the next four seasons—from 1966 through 1969—and then officially merged before the 1970 season to form one league with two conferences.

Early years

Tomlinson was born to Loreane Chappelle and Oliver Tomlinson in Rosebud, Texas. His father left the family when Tomlinson was seven years old. [6] Tomlinson did not see his father very often afterwards. [7] His mother worked as a preacher. At age nine, Tomlinson joined the Pop Warner Little Scholars football program and scored a touchdown the first time he touched the ball. [6]

Rosebud, Texas City in Texas

Rosebud is a city in Falls County, Texas, United States. The population was 1,412 at the 2010 census.

Pop Warner Little Scholars

Pop Warner Little Scholars, commonly known simply as Pop Warner, is a nonprofit organization that provides activities such as American football, for over 425,000 youths aged 5 to 16 years old, in several nations. It is the largest youth football organization in the United States. In the 2010s, concern grew about the dangers of brain injury, including that from a steady diet of sub-concussive hits. There have been proposals to replace tackle football with flag football below certain ages.

Tomlinson attended University High School in Waco, Texas, where he played basketball, baseball, football, and ran track. Tomlinson began his football career as a linebacker, but blossomed on the offensive side of the ball. Tomlinson amassed 2,554 yards and 39 touchdowns his senior year, earning honors as the District 25-4A Most Valuable Player, Super Centex Offensive Player of the Year. [8] [9] He was named in the state all-star football team in 1997, which included future San Diego teammates Drew Brees (Austin Westlake) and Quentin Jammer (Angleton). [10] [11] In track & field, Tomlinson competed as a sprinter and was a member of the Waco University 4 × 100 m (41.82s) relay squad. [12]

University High School is a public high school located in the city of Waco, Texas, part of Waco Independent School District and classified as a 5A school by the University Interscholastic League. It is one of two public high schools in Waco ISD, the other being Waco High School.

Waco, Texas City in Texas, United States

Waco is a city in central Texas and is the county seat of McLennan County, Texas, United States. It is situated along the Brazos River and I-35, halfway between Dallas and Austin. The city had a 2010 population of 124,805, making it the 22nd-most populous city in the state. The 2017 US Census population estimate is 136,436 The Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of McLennan and Falls Counties, which had a 2010 population of 234,906. Falls County was added to the Waco MSA in 2013. The 2017 US Census population estimate for the Waco MSA is 268,696.

Basketball team sport played on a court with baskets on either end

Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.

Tomlinson was an avid Dallas Cowboys and Miami Hurricanes fan during his youth. He idolized Walter Payton and admired Emmitt Smith, Jim Brown, and Barry Sanders. [9] [13] [14]

Dallas Cowboys National Football League franchise in Arlington, Texas

The Dallas Cowboys are a professional American football team based in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. The Cowboys compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) East division. The team is headquartered in Frisco, Texas, and plays its home games at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, which opened for the 2009 season. The stadium took its current name prior to the 2013 season. The Cowboys joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1960. The team's national following might best be represented by its NFL record of consecutive sell-outs. The Cowboys' streak of 190 consecutive sold-out regular and post-season games began in 2002. The franchise has made it to the Super Bowl eight times, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Denver Broncos for second most Super Bowl appearances in history, just behind the New England Patriots record eleven Super Bowl appearances. This has also corresponded to eight NFC championships, most in the NFC. The Cowboys have won five of those Super Bowl appearances, tying them with their NFC rivals, the San Francisco 49ers; both are second to Pittsburgh's and New England’s record six Super Bowl championships. The Cowboys are the only NFL team to record 20 straight winning seasons (1966–85), in which they missed the playoffs only twice.

Miami Hurricanes intercollegiate sports teams of the University of Miami

The Miami Hurricanes are the varsity sports teams of the University of Miami, located in the Coral Gables suburb of Miami, Florida. In box scores for sporting events, the Hurricanes sports teams are usually referred to as Miami (FL) to differentiate from the Miami RedHawks, a Division I school in Ohio. They compete in the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The university fields 15 athletic teams for 17 varsity sports. Men's teams compete in baseball, basketball, cross-country, diving, football, tennis, and track and field. Women's teams compete in basketball, cross-country, swimming and diving, golf, rowing, soccer, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. UM has approximately equal participation by male and female varsity athletes in these sports.

Emmitt Smith American football running back, Pro Football Hall of Famer

Emmitt James Smith III is a former college and professional American football running back who became the National Football League's (NFL) all-time leading rusher during his fifteen seasons in the league during the 1990s and 2000s.

College career

Tomlinson accepted an athletic scholarship at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, then a member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). He played for the TCU Horned Frogs from 1997 to 2000. Prior to Tomlinson's arrival, TCU had appeared in only one bowl game in the previous 12 seasons (and two in the previous 34), and had recently been "downgraded" to a minor conference (the WAC) after the breakup of the Southwest Conference.

During Tomlinson's freshman and sophomore years, he split time with Basil Mitchell. In the 1998 season he helped the Horned Frogs to their first bowl win in 41 years against the USC Trojans in the Sun Bowl. [15] During his junior season in 1999, he set an NCAA FBS record for most rushing yards in a single game with 406 against UTEP; the record stood until 2014, when Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon rushed for 408 yards [16] which was subsequently broken only one week later by Oklahoma's Samaje Perine after running for 427 yards against Kansas. [17] Tomlinson finished his season with an NCAA-leading 1,850 yards rushing to go along with 18 touchdowns.

In his senior season in 2000, Tomlinson led the NCAA for the second time with 2,158 yards and 22 touchdowns, and was recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American. [18] He won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's best running back, and was a finalist for the 2000 Heisman Trophy, but came in fourth in the voting. He completed his college career with 5,263 rushing yards, ranking sixth in NCAA Division I history. [19]

The school retired his jersey (No. 5) during halftime of a November 2005 game against UNLV. [20] In December of that year, Tomlinson fulfilled a promise to his mother by earning his degree in communications from TCU. [21] He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on December 9, 2014. [22]

College statistics

RushingReceiving
YearTeamGPAttYardsAvgTDsRecYardsTDs
1997TCU111265384.36111090
1998TCU111447175.086340
1999TCU123041,9746.52016840
2000TCU113692,1585.82210400
College Totals459435,3875.756432670

College awards and honors

Professional career

2001 NFL Draft

The San Diego Chargers selected Tomlinson in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft, as the fifth overall pick. The Chargers possessed the draft's first selection, but traded the pick to the Atlanta Falcons, who drafted Michael Vick. [23] In this way, many consider that Vick and Tomlinson were "traded" for each other, although the transaction was actually the result of traded draft picks. [23]

In exchange for San Diego's first draft pick, with which Atlanta selected Vick, the Chargers received Atlanta's #5 pick (used to draft Tomlinson), Atlanta's third-round (67th overall) pick, which San Diego used to select Tay Cody, and Atlanta's second-round pick in 2002, which San Diego would use to select Reche Caldwell. [24] San Diego also received Atlanta's wide receiver Tim Dwight. The Chargers' general manager, John Butler, made the deal contingent on San Diego receiving Dwight, to which Atlanta agreed. [25]

San Diego Chargers

Tomlinson warming up during his tenure with the Chargers. LaDainian Tomlinson-Aug-2-08-Practice.jpg
Tomlinson warming up during his tenure with the Chargers.

Tomlinson immediately became the starting running back with the Chargers. He achieved immediate success in the NFL, rushing for over 1,200 yards and making over 50 receptions in each of his first seven seasons. He also proved to be an effective passer, completing eight career passes, seven of them for touchdowns and maintaining a career passer rating of 154.4. [26]

Tomlinson ran for 1,236 yards on a 5–11 Chargers team in his rookie season. [27] In 2003, he became the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and record 100 receptions in the same season. [28] He also reached his 50th career touchdown in his 4th season (60th game) and was elected to the Pro Bowl team in 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006. Tomlinson also tied Lenny Moore's all-time record for consecutive games scoring a TD (18).

On October 16, 2005, in the Chargers' victory over the Oakland Raiders, LaDainian Tomlinson became the 7th player in NFL history to run, catch, and throw for a touchdown in the same game. Despite breaking his ribs towards the end of the 2005 season, LaDainian continued to play and finished the season with 1,462 rushing yards, 370 receiving yards, and a career-high 20 touchdowns (18 rushing, 2 receiving). In 2005, he was nominated for the FedEx Ground Player of the Year Award. Tomlinson placed third behind Tiki Barber and Shaun Alexander.

In the 2006 season, he set NFL records by scoring 14 touchdowns in a span of 4 games, 16 touchdowns in span of 5 games, and 19 touchdowns in a span of 6 games, including a franchise record 4 touchdowns in games against the San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals and the Denver Broncos. He is the first to score three TDs in three straight games and became the first to score at least 3 in four straight games set the following week. Also, he became the second to have three games of four or more TDs in one season (Marshall Faulk became the first back in 2000). He became the fastest player ever to score 100 touchdowns. On November 19, 2006, Tomlinson accomplished the milestone in 89 games with 102, beating the previous record of 93 games held by Jim Brown and Emmitt Smith. On December 3, 2006, Tomlinson became the first running back to rush for at least 1,236 yards in his first six NFL seasons (he has now done so in his first seven years as well). On December 7, he was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month. [29]

He scored his 29th touchdown against the Denver Broncos in just 13 games (Alexander set the record in 16). [30] His 2 touchdown passes do not count toward this record because the NFL treats them in a separate category. With the first touchdown against Kansas City on December 17, he surpassed the NFL record for most points in a season which had stood for 46 years. [31] Tomlinson would finish his record-breaking season with 2,323  yards from scrimmage and 31 touchdowns (28 rushing, 3 receiving). [32]

Tomlinson against Cleveland Browns in 2006 LaDainian Tomlinson vs Cleveland (cropped).jpg
Tomlinson against Cleveland Browns in 2006

San Diego finished with a franchise-best 14–2 record, scoring a league-leading 492 points. [32] Tomlinson went on to rush for 123 yards, catch 2 passes for 64 yards, and score 2 touchdowns in the Chargers divisional playoff loss to the New England Patriots. After the game, the usually mild-mannered Tomlinson blamed Patriots head coach Bill Belichick for some New England players celebrating on the Chargers midfield logo at Qualcomm Stadium by mocking Charger Shawne Merriman's sack dance. "They showed no class at all. Absolutely no class. And maybe that comes from the head coach," said Tomlinson. [33] [34]

On January 5, 2007, Tomlinson was awarded with the NFL Most Valuable Player Award for his record-breaking season. [35] He was the runaway winner, receiving 44 of the 50 votes from a panel of nationwide sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL. Former teammate Drew Brees, now a New Orleans Saint, received four votes and Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning received two votes. [35] Additionally, Tomlinson was one of nine Chargers players selected for the 2007 Pro Bowl and was a starting running back for the American Football Conference. [36] He was also recognized by the Associated Press as they awarded him their Offensive Player of the Year Award. [37] He was later named co-holder of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award alongside his aforementioned former teammate Drew Brees. [38] On July 11, 2007, Tomlinson won the ESPY Awards for Male Athlete of the Year, Best Record-Breaking Performance and Best NFL Athlete, as well as the Hummer Like Nothing Else Award. [39]

Norv Turner, who was the San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator in Tomlinson's rookie season, replaced Marty Schottenheimer as San Diego Chargers head coach in 2007. "Norv is the perfect fit for our team. He will know exactly what to do with our team," Tomlinson said of the hiring. [27] [40] On December 2, 2007 Tomlinson passed Walter Payton on the all-time rushing touchdown list, with his 111th career rushing touchdown, against the Kansas City Chiefs. [41] A day later, Tomlinson honored Payton by wearing his jersey during a press conference. [41] Tomlinson led the league in rushing with a total of 1,474 rushing yards in 2007, becoming the first player since Edgerrin James in 2000, to win back-to-back rushing titles. [42] During the year, Tomlinson became the fourth fastest player to reach 10,000 rushing yards in NFL history. [43]

Tomlinson warming up in 2008 Tomlinson warming up.jpg
Tomlinson warming up in 2008

Tomlinson ran for 42 yards on 21 carries and caught 3 passes for 19 yards, and scored a touchdown in the San Diego Chargers wild-card playoff victory over the Tennessee Titans on January 6, 2008. [44] He scored his touchdown on fourth and goal, leaping over the pile and reaching across the goal line to help secure the fourth-quarter lead for the Chargers. [44] Tomlinson sprained the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee and missed the second half of the Chargers divisional playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts on January 13, 2008. [45] [46] Tomlinson attempted to play through the injury, and had two carries for 5 yards before sitting out the rest of the 2008 AFC Championship. The Chargers lost to the New England Patriots, 21–12. [45] [47] A lasting image from the game is Tomlinson sitting on the Chargers bench, and his helmet with a dark visor still over his head. [45] Some San Diego Chargers fans and media—including Deion Sanders—questioned Tomlinson's toughness. [45] [48] [49] Retired NFL great Jim Brown said Tomlinson "looks so comfortable sitting there ... And then you have his quarterback out there giving everything he had, and it was a contrast between the two visually that when you looked at him and you looked at Philip Rivers, you said well, damn—we don't know how bad Tomlinson was hurt." [50] Terrell Davis, whose NFL career ended due to knee injuries, said, "... when you're talking about the knee, it just ain't the same." [50]

Tomlinson did not participate in the San Diego Chargers' off-season program in 2008 because of the injury. Much like the previous year, Tomlinson got off to a slow start after jamming his big toe against the Carolina Panthers in the second week into the season. [51] Tomlinson did not record a 100-yard rushing performance until week four against the Oakland Raiders while having averaged 3.3 yards per carry the first three weeks. Tomlinson averaged 17 carries per game up to mid-season and had had four rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown. Though Tomlinson had two 100-yard rushing performances on the season, he topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the 8th consecutive time in his career which placed him third all-time alongside Thurman Thomas for consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons behind Curtis Martin, Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith. He ended the season with a career-low 1,110 rushing yards on a career-low 292 attempts and 11 touchdowns thanks to a three-touchdown performance in the final game of the 2008 season. He also moved up the all-time list of touchdowns, getting his 126th rushing touchdown, which passed Marcus Allen's 123 and his 141st touchdown moved him closer to Marcus Allen's 145 total touchdowns in a career which is tied for third all-time with wide receiver Terrell Owens, behind Emmitt Smith (175) and Jerry Rice (208). He also became the fifth player in NFL history to have 500 receptions and rush for more than 10,000 yards. [52] Tomlinson partially tore his groin in the finale against Denver. [53] He played the first half in the wild-card round against the Colts before re-injuring the groin [54] and missing the Chargers' divisional loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. [55]

That's the class that he shows ... I wanted to come down here and show mine ... I'm happy that he did it. It makes it special, because he's a good human being. He's a class individual, and I hope in these later years y'all treat him that way.

Jim Brown, after witnessing Tomlinson passing him as the eighth leading rusher in NFL history on December 6, 2009. [56]

After a contentious off-season negotiation, Tomlinson and the Chargers came to an agreement on March 10, 2009, to restructure his three-year contract so that he could remain a Charger. [57] Tomlinson suffered an ankle injury on opening day of the 2009 season against Oakland and missed the next two games. [58] The offensive line was impacted by injuries during the season, [27] [59] and Tomlinson's production declined with career lows in rushing attempts (223) and yards (730). [60] He scored 12 touchdowns, but his yards per carry was a 3.3 average. [60] The Chargers were last in the league in yards per carry, also averaging 3.3. [58] The Chargers finished with a 13–3 record, winning 11 in a row, without a strong running game. [27] They were upset in the second round by the wild-card New York Jets.

Tomlinson was named to the NFL's 2000s All-Decade Team after leading the league with 12,490 rushing yards in the 2000s, 1,897 more than runner-up Edgerrin James. His 138 rushing touchdowns during the decade set an NFL record for any decade, and were 38 more than any other player in the 2000s. [61] [62]

After much speculation about Tomlinson's future with the team, the Chargers released Tomlinson on February 22, 2010, after nine seasons with the team. [60] Many experts attributed his decline to his age (30) and injuries. [60] [63] In his farewell news conference, Tomlinson said his production declined after the 2006 season when Schottenheimer departed. He felt that the team's focus on running dropped under Turner; [63] he later referred to Turner as a "passing coach". The San Diego Union-Tribune , in an article titled "No doubt: Norv wants to run ball", wrote that Tomlinson enjoyed success in his rookie season with Turner as offensive coordinator, as well as in Turner's first season as San Diego's head coach in 2007. The article also cited Turner's history of coaching 1,000-yard rushers, including Emmitt Smith's three NFL rushing titles. [27] Tomlinson lamented the team's release of fullback Lorenzo Neal after 2007, but Neal was not a starter the next season with Baltimore. [40]

Tomlinson left the Chargers ranked eighth among NFL career rushing leaders with 12,490 yards. He also ranked second with 138 career rushing touchdowns, and third with 153 total touchdowns. [60] He became the fastest player to reach 150 career touchdowns (137 games). [56] Tomlinson expressed a desire to eventually retire as a San Diego Charger, but acknowledged a difficult relationship with Chargers general manager A. J. Smith. He said he "felt disrespected" by comments Smith made in the past. [64] McClatchy Newspapers wrote in 2011 that Tomlinson was likely to have his number 21 retired by the Chargers once he retires. [65] Bob Wick, the San Diego Chargers equipment manager, said he tried to keep No. 21 out of circulation, even though it had not been officially retired. [66] [67] [68]

New York Jets

Tomlinson in 2011 with the Jets. LT jets (cropped).jpg
Tomlinson in 2011 with the Jets.

For the first time in his career, Tomlinson entered the free-agent market, with many teams expressing interest. Despite the fact that Tomlinson still believed that he was a number one caliber running back, he would be forced to split time with another running back and after various contract negotiations, Tomlinson signed a two-year, $5.2 million contract with the New York Jets on March 14, 2010. [69] Tomlinson chose to sign with New York because he felt more comfortable with the team's philosophy and personnel, and he felt that the team offered him the best chance to win a championship. [70] [71]

Tomlinson recorded his first 100-yard rushing game in nearly two years on October 3, 2010 against the Buffalo Bills. [72] In the game, Tomlinson also passed Tony Dorsett for 7th on the all-time rushing list.

On October 31, 2010, Tomlinson reached another career milestone joining Walter Payton as the only players in NFL history to gain 13,000 yards rushing and 4,000 yards receiving. [73]

On December 6, 2010, against the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football, LaDainian Tomlinson passed Eric Dickerson for 6th on the all-time rushing list.

On December 19, 2010, LaDainian Tomlinson reached another milestone by passing Marcus Allen for 6th on the all time yards from scrimmage list.

He finished the season leading the Jets in rushing with 914 yards, though it was widely thought he would be a complement to Shonn Greene, whom he outrushed by 148 yards. [74] It was also Tomlinson's first year in his entire career that he did not record double-digit TDs, as he recorded a career low of 6.

He rushed for 82 yards on 16 attempts and ran for both Jets touchdowns in a 17–16 victory over the Colts in the AFC wild card playoffs. [75] Against the Patriots in the AFC Divisional playoffs, the Jets won 28–21 as Tomlinson rushed for 49 yards on 10 attempts and caught a touchdown. It was his 7th career postseason touchdown. [76] In the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers, the Jets were down 24–10 in the fourth quarter when Tomlinson was unable to score a touchdown on a fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line. The Jets went on to lose 24–19. [77] Tomlinson had nine carries for 16 yards. [78]

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said after the season that he expected Tomlinson back for 2011 but "things could change." [79] With Greene designated as the starting running back for 2011, Tomlinson began the season as a third-down back and caught six passes for 73 yards in the season opener. [80]

On September 25, 2011, against the Oakland Raiders Tomlinson caught an 18-yard touchdown pass for his 160th career touchdown, joining Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice as the only players to score 160 career touchdowns. [81]

On October 9, 2011, against the New England Patriots Tomlinson became the 6th player in NFL history to reach 18,000 yards from scrimmage. On October 23, 2011 against the San Diego Chargers Tomlinson became the 4th running back in NFL history to have 600 career receptions, joining Larry Centers, Marshall Faulk, and Keith Byars. On November 13, 2011 against the New England Patriots Tomlinson passed Barry Sanders for 5th on the all time yards from scrimmage list. On December 18, 2011 against the Philadelphia Eagles Tomlinson passed Keith Byars for 3rd on the all-time career receptions list for running backs. On January 1, 2012 against the Miami Dolphins Tomlinson passed Jerome Bettis for 5th on the all-time rushing yards list.

Retirement

On June 18, 2012, Tomlinson signed a ceremonial contract with the San Diego Chargers and then immediately announced his retirement. [82] Chargers president Dean Spanos said that no other Charger would ever wear Tomlinson's No. 21. [83] At the time of his retirement, Tomlinson ranked fifth in NFL history in career rushing yards (13,684), second in career rushing touchdowns (145), and third in career total touchdowns (162). [84] The Chargers formally retired his number in 2015. [85] Tomlinson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017. [86]

Statistics

Legend
Led the league
NFL record
NFL MVP
BoldCareer high

Regular season

YearTeamGRushingReceivingPassing
AttYdsTDFumAvgRecYdsTDAttCmpPctYdsTDInt
2001 SD 163391,2361083.6593670000000
2002 SD 163721,6831434.5794891000000
2003 SD 163131,6451325.31007254111002110
2004 SD 153391,3351763.953341121503800
2005 SD 163391,4621834.351370243754730
2006 SD 163481,8152825.25650833266.72020
2007 SD 163151,4741504.7604753111001710
2008 SD 162921,1101113.8524261100000
2009 SD 142237301223.3201540000000
2010 NYJ 15219914644.2523680000000
2011 NYJ 1475280103.7424492000000
Career1703,17413,684145314.36244,7721712866.714370

Postseason

Tomlinson threw for seven touchdowns in his career. Tomlinson warming up 1.jpg
Tomlinson threw for seven touchdowns in his career.
YearTeamGRushingReceiving
AttYdsTDFumAvgRecYdsTD
2004 SD 126800253.19530
2006 SD 1231232405.32640
2007 SD 328751502.55400
2008 SD 15251125.0000
2009 SD 112240122.0300
2010 NYJ 335141204.06191
Career10131468613.6251761

NFL records

[108]

Franchise records

As of 2017's NFL off-season, LaDainian Tomlinson held at least 40 Chargers franchise records, including:

  • Rush Attempts: career (2,880), [109] season (372 in 2002), [110] game (39 on 2002-10-20 @OAK; with Marion Butts), [111] playoff game (26 on 2005-01-08 NYJ), [112] rookie season (339 in 2001) [113]
  • Rush Yards: career (12,490), [109] season (1,815 in 2006), [110] game (243 on 2003-12-28 OAK), [111] rookie season (1,236 in 2001) [113]
  • Rushing TDs: career (138), [109] season (28 in 2006), game (4 on 2007-10-14 OAK; with Clarence Williams), [111] playoffs (4), playoff season (2 in 2006, with Natrone Means and Darren Sproles), playoff game (2 on 2007-01-14 NWE; with Darren Sproles), [112] rookie season (10 in 2001; with Tim Spencer), [113] rookie game (3 on 2001-09-30 CIN, with Natrone Means and Ryan Mathews) [114]
  • Rush Yds/Game: career (88.6), [109] season (113.4 in 2006) [110]
  • Receptions: season (100 in 2003), [115] rookie game (13 on 2001-11-25 ARI) [116]
  • Total TDs: career (153), [117] season (31 in 2006), [118] playoffs (4), rookie game (3 on 2001-09-30 CIN; with 3 others) [119]
  • Yds from Scrimmage: career (16,445), season (2,370 in 2003), game (271 on 2002-12-01 DEN), rookie season (1,603 in 2001)
  • All Purpose Yds: career (16,445)
  • 100+ yard rushing games: career (47), season (11 in 2006) [120]
  • Games with 1+ TD scored: career (96), season (14 in 2004) [121]
  • Games with 2+ TD scored: career (43), season (11 in 2006) [122]
  • Games with 3+ TD scored: career (13), season (6 in 2006), [123] rookie season (1; with 3 others)
  • Seasons with 1000+ rushing yards: 8

Awards and honors

Tomlinson being tackled by Jeremiah Trotter at the 2006 Pro Bowl. Ldt tackle.jpg
Tomlinson being tackled by Jeremiah Trotter at the 2006 Pro Bowl.

Personal life

Tomlinson in 2004 LTByPhilKonstantin.jpg
Tomlinson in 2004
External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg After Words interview with Chris Tomlinson on Tomlinson Hill, conducted by Lavar Tomlinson, June 23, 2014, C-SPAN

He is a Christian. [124] Tomlinson was introduced to his future wife, LaTorsha Oakley, while the two were students at TCU. [125] The couple married on March 21, 2003. Tomlinson's son, Daylen, was born on July 8, 2010. [126] In 2011, Tomlinson's daughter was born, before driving to their season opener.

In 2007, LaDainian's father Oliver Tomlinson and brother-in-law Ronald McClain died in an auto accident. [127] Tomlinson, who had a "great relationship" with his father, was devastated by the tragedy. [128]

Tomlinson has been featured in several commercials for Nike, Campbell Soup and Vizio. [129] As late as 2005, he was wearing Nike Zoom Air football cleats (size 13½). [130]

In April 2007, Tomlinson turned down a request to become the cover athlete and official spokesman for EA Sports' Madden NFL 08 video game. [131] Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young was eventually selected for the cover.

In August 2012, Tomlinson joined the cast of NFL Network's Sunday morning show "First on the Field" as an analyst. In 2013, he also became the host and judge to determine the "Top 5 Running backs" of each week.

In 2016, Tomlinson was cast in the feature film God Bless the Broken Road , based on the song of the same name. [132] [133] While originally announced for a 2016 release, as of June 2018 it has yet to find a distributor and has not been released. [132]

Tomlinson wrote the foreword for Chris Tomlinson's book, Tomlinson Hill , which traces the story of two families—one white and one black—from a plantation in Tomlinson Hill, Texas. The plantation was owned by Chris' great-great-grandparents, while LaDainian descended from a slave owned by Chris' ancestors. [134]

The San Diego Chargers retired Tomlinson's jersey and number during a halftime ceremony on November 22, 2015. Tomlinson joined Lance Alworth, Dan Fouts and the late Junior Seau in that honor. Tomlinson also had his number raised to the rafters at Qualcomm Stadium, becoming the 38th member of the Chargers' Hall of Fame, and had his name placed in the team's Ring of Honor. [135]

See also

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  100. Consecutive seasons with 6+ rushing touchdowns, PFR leaderboard
  101. Consecutive seasons with 7+ rushing touchdowns, PFR leaderboard
  102. Consecutive seasons with 8+ rushing touchdowns
  103. Consecutive seasons with 9+ rushing touchdowns
  104. Consecutive seasons with 10+ rushing touchdowns
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