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Retiring LT Left His Mark on the Jets

Posted by Randy Lange on June 18, 2012 – 10:49 am

There was the tattoo on the back of the right calf, the one with the NYJ logo. And there were a number of heartfelt sentiments and fiery team breakdowns and uplifting highlights while wearing the green and white.

Still, when LaDainian Tomlinson decided to officially retire from the NFL, did anyone doubt the San Diego pull on his career?

The Chargers announced Sunday that Tomlinson is retiring and that he’s retiring as a ‘Bolt. He is expected to sign a one-day contract with San Diego today and then hold a news conference this afternoon.

Nevertheless, No. 21 had an impact for the two seasons that he was a Jet. He notched the last 100-yard game of his Hall of Fame career, going for 133 yards and two touchdowns at Buffalo in Game 4 of 2010. Two weeks later there was another two-TD game in the win at Denver, and two more in the AFC Wild Card win at Indianapolis.

Last season he throttled down as Shonn Greene became the starting tailback, yet still Tomlinson contributed, as the third-down back. His 42 receptions for 449 yards gave him a career-best 10.7 yards per catch, topped by his career-long-equaling 74-yard catch-and-run at Oakland.

However, Tomlinson, released by the Chargers after the ’09 season, his ninth in blue and gold, may have been at his happiest as a Jet after a tiny little 3-yard gain on fourth-and-1 from midfield. All that run did was cement the Patriots’ fate in the Jets’ 28-14 Game 2 triumph, his first home win as a Jet and the Jets’ first win in their new Meadowlands home.

“I’m having a lot of fun,” Tomlinson said after that game. “Being around these guys, this coaching staff, being on this team has rejuvenated me and I feel like a young man running around out there. I’m having fun like a kid again, so I’m going to keep that passion all year long.”

“He’s enjoying himself here. He’s excited about being here,” said CB Antonio Cromartie, who played his first four NFL seasons with Tomlinson in San Diego. “He’s anxious to prove everyone wrong. Everyone says that he’s 31 years old and he’s headed for a downfall, but he’s going out and proving everyone wrong.”

One thing LT appreciated most in his short stay in the New Jersey/New York area was the passion of the fans.

“I never knew how emotional and passionate the fans are here about football,” he said. “Of course, I played here once or twice and they were great fans then, but playing here and being part of this team — it’s a different story.”

Both Tomlinson and the Jets could see the unfolding story after last season’s deflating finish out of the playoffs. He knew his Jets career was drawing to a close and his NFL career, too.

And today the story will be about his fantastic career, the first 9/11ths of it spent building a magnificent foundation, the last 2/11ths applying the crowning touch. We’ll bring you some of LaDainian’s comments from that news conference later this afternoon — which will be streamed live on chargers.com at 2 p.m. ET — and we’ll have a few photos and videos of his stay with the Jets.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 53 Comments »

53 Responses to “Retiring LT Left His Mark on the Jets”

  1. By IRA on Jun 18, 2012 | Reply

    I was thrilled to be able to watch LT pla as a Jet. Yes 010 was a much better year and Randy picked that game @ Buff which i agree he was in a zone that day. He looked 25 yrs old again. At least for the 010 season his leadership and play really had a big impact on the success they had.
    In the past decade or so myself and all Jets fans have been lucky to see Curtis, TJ and LT all in the group of top RBs in their career. Hopefully Greene someday will be included in that group.

  2. By GaryC on Jun 18, 2012 | Reply

    what does it all mean, jets pickup guys like Monk,Lott, Favre,L.T. and others because they did not have the foresight to select them in the draft,so they come to the jets for a season or two,cash bigger paychecks, then go to the hall of fame wearing the jerseys of the teams that drafted them,whopee.

  3. By Karan on Jun 18, 2012 | Reply

    LT, you are a veterans veteran, a man’s man. It was absolutely phenomenal seeing you in a green and white uniform for the last 2 seasons. It’s unforunate we were never able to win that championship trophy while you were with us, especially in 2010 where it really felt like our year. Anyways, i wish you the best of luck in everything, your a heck of a guy. I personally think he still had a little something left in the tank and would have loved to see the Jets resign him for another season. But that’s when the unforunate business aspect of NFL comes into play. Anyways, your one of the greatest running backs in NFL history and even though a Charger at heart, us Jets fans certainly will not forget you.

  4. By Karan on Jun 18, 2012 | Reply

    Well, it’s really disappointing in reading that the Jets reportedly will not reunite with Edwards for a second run. I thought the chemistry him and Mark developed was something special and I was hoping the Jets would allow them to continue that. Don’t get me wrong, I still like Turner and Hill and Schilens and Kerley, but a veteran presence and a deep threat in that would have been great. Hope whoever the number 2 receiver will be now develops some great chemistry with Mark. Kerley should be locked as our no.3 and slot receiver.

  5. By Karan on Jun 18, 2012 | Reply

    Well since you guys aren’t going to get a veteran WR, at least go out and sign Drew Coleman along with a blocking tight end.

  6. By scjoe on Jun 18, 2012 | Reply

    Ira, good luck with Greene being added to that particular group. It is only right LT retires as a Charger. He had his greatest years there, he was really past his prime in his tenure with the Jets, but still had his moments. Good luck LT. You earned it.

  7. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jun 18, 2012 | Reply

    LT is a non-issue, hope he enjoys the accolades. He did okay the 1st yr, had nothing the 2nd yr, and showed us what the Chargers didn’t like about him by publicly trashing the team the second we were out of it the 2nd yr. Like GaryC says, these victory laps for has-been stars are a Jets tradition that can’t end too soon. Best I can say about LT is that the 1st yr he was good enough to show up TJ, who as several of us predicted only looked great the year before because of the Grand Canyon-sized holes we opened for him. What I’m excited about is finding out if Greene, McKnight, Powell, or Ganaway are future HOFers, that’s what the focus should be on. I love seeing Rex in the position of having no choice but to play our young guys.

  8. By joe on Jun 18, 2012 | Reply


  9. By joe on Jun 18, 2012 | Reply

    ps It goes to show everyone what LT knows about FOOTBALL .He could have stayed on on here as a BACK UP to finally get that SB RING Now that we got Sparano as OC calling the plays FOR SANCHEZ and Tebow how can we not win it all

  10. By Karan on Jun 18, 2012 | Reply

    I’m actually excited as well to see how our running backs will play. I think we are set at that position. Shonn Greene needs to get back to his power running, I think the rookie Ganaway might be in the same class. Joe McKnight, I can’t wait to see especially since I trashed him his rookie season.He showed burst and versatility his 2nd season, he will continue to impress and be our 3rd down back. And people always tend to forget even though he is listed as a QB, Tim Tebow will see many runs and play the HB position at times during the season. This guy is just explosive when running the ball and hard to bring down. The combination of Tebow, Greene, and McKnight should be something special indeed.

  11. By joe on Jun 18, 2012 | Reply


  12. By DKM on Jun 18, 2012 | Reply

    First Ballot HOF and deserved anything he can get and my respect, allthough i have to some how agree with Gary C, to bad he wasnt here when he startet or in his prime, neverless he had a fine career and one good year with the jets, CM is still my favorite RB.

  13. By DKM on Jun 18, 2012 | Reply

    scjoe i liked your list there a couple of posts ago but would have left of Mo Lewis not because he was a bad player but for other reasons, that being, that 1 hit could have changed the NFL’s past 10 years completly.
    Lets face it we still dealing with that today. Just saying.

  14. By IRA on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    Hey i can only hope right?
    Dito about Edwards but right now with this group i don’t see it unless somebody has some bad luck and gets hurt during camp. Also do you really think Edwards wants to come here and be a role player behind Hill or Schilens?
    The 08 Fish with Henning calling the plays ran the ball 448 times and passed 491 times. Remember Henning called the plays. I could see the scale tipped a little more towards running this year depending how games play out. I think they go over the 500 rushing attempts mark with no problem.
    Getting back to our WR’s. Really Holmes and Keller will get the bulk of the work and i see them with about 140 catches combined. Then add in another 35-40 for Kerley and say 25-30 for Hill.

  15. By IRA on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    That leaves about 100 or so more catches spilt up between the other Wr’s and the backs and a few for Tebow. I don’t see where they need Edwards as the roster looks right now. BTW in 08 Fasano led the Fish with 7 TD’s more than double any other WR. The group he had was Ginn-56, Camarillo-55 and Bess-54. So now he will have Holmes and Keller as his main targets i think Sanchez should be just fine especially now that he will be able to get back to throwing off of play action calls.
    GO JETS!!!!!

  16. By GaryC on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    Look, last year Plastico and stone mason made the jets receiving corp look like traffic going through the midtown tunnel at 5.00 o’clock.It can only improve with Hill,Shillens and a second year kerley,speed alone opens things up in the running game.keller and holmes added to the mix you need to be a little more optimistic this year than last.

  17. By Karan on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    Wow, I never realized how good the Defensive line of the Buffalo Bills has become. I really like our current group but we have some major competition with our AFC east rival in that category. Bills have Mark Anderson, Marcell Dareus who I’m sure will get into form after a poor rookie season, then Kyle Williiams, Mario Williams and Shawn Merriman. This could be the best D-line in the AFC East. And this is what concerns me, I’m not sure if our Offensive line has improved enough to block such defenders, not just in our division, but against other teams as well. However, at the end of the day, our major concern should be the Patriots, not the Bills, even though Buffalo has much improved over the last few seasons.

  18. By Karan on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    I agree IRA, I love those play-action calls. Sanchez isn’t the best passer, but the kid excels in the play-action. And with a new offensive coordinator, I’m sure we’ll throw it down the field more and not be so conservative and predictable as we were with the other guy.

  19. By Frank on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    LT did his job here and was an inspiration for the younger guys. Anyone here bashing him for his comments at the end of the season are drinking the kool aide. His comments were among many others the cancer still exists…Rex created the problem and nothing has changed. New season fresh start we’ll see how rapidly it unwinds this year.
    Ira why do we need Edwards? Schilens is a walking IR canidate and Hill already missing time with a hammy has a lot to learn and we have zero veteran depth. They need to sign Edwards and Drew Coleman for CB depth.

  20. By wayne on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    Edwards got nothing left……It’s a business boys, if he had something go give someone would get it……talent squandered…..Tomlinson(there’s only ONE LT) was supposed to retire as a Charger)……………….IRA, good to see you’re looking at GQ realistically. Flawed, but serviceable…….Maybe……If Lionheart can bring it out of him……………….Now if you could just get Sp………………….to see the truth……

  21. By SCfromNY on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    LT was a good addition for 2010. I still have a problem calling him LT. joe I like your prediction for the SB but I think we are at least a year away IF Sanchez improves and concerns about RT are addressed.

    Ira saw your stats about the fish in 2008 when they went to the playoffs. Try to remember though their QB was Chad Pennington not Sanchez or god forbid Tebow. (I added the “god forbid” since it is Tebow)

  22. By GaryC on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    you can’t drink from the well twice,like going back to an ex,fuggetaboutit.edwards,coleman do not need to be brought back.

  23. By Bennett on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    This 1 day deal that LT signed is very strange. Why bother ? What is the point ? Is it that he retired as a Charger… after 1 day ???..Sounds to me like a really phony way of doing it, Now if the signed him for his last year I could see it. Am I the only one sick of cheap gimmicks, meaningless gestures that are meant to tug at our emotions but only leave us perplexed ? Was this supposed to be a slap at the Jets ? OK the team got rid of you when you no longer could produce at a high level,( real loyal) than the didn’t want you back but offered you a cheap gimmick and you take it ? To say you retired as a Charger after 1 day ??? come on…. give me a break

  24. By Bennett on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    The used to have ( and may still have ) open try outs for NFL teams Any one could show up and they would work you all out to see if any one had anything. Remote yes but they still did it almost like a you never know type of a deal. The result is a lot of ex high school and, small colleage players whose once impressive muscles had turned to fat could honestly say at the local dive after a few rounds “yeah I tried out for the Giants, didn,t make it of coarse” and everyone would be impressed. Gee he tried out for the Giants Wow !!! Did you hear ? Whosis tried out for the Giants….I retired as a Charger.. ahhh no you really didn’t… ahhh… you really didn’t try out for the Giants

  25. By Bennett on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    Just to be honest here… yeah I was one of those fat guys who sat at the bar and who told everyone I tried out… and “of coarse I didn’t make it” (said with a small chuckle ) and everyone would say, Gee!! you were close !! You must have been good and I would be really humble like and say” yeah just not good enought ” and everyone would chuckle at that and maybe even buy me a shot ( I did this all the time )

  26. By scjoe on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    Ira, in theory, given Sanchez performance, especially last season, you would think the “run first offense” (hate the term “ground and pound”) would be in order for this Jets team. But tell me, what have they done this off season to improve a run game that left a lot to be desired last season? Where is the RT? Where is the blocking TE? Heck, where is the RB? The fact they brought in a new OC with a run first philosophy will not be enough. I see the run game average at best. That puts the onus on Sanchez/Tebow. God help us (no pun intended)

  27. By IRA on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    wayne, Thats right Edwards can’t be 100% healthy. The Fish signed Chad Johnson instead of Edwards. What does that tell you?
    I am not saying they won’t add a veteran WR at some point but i think they will see what they have in camp and then make a decision. I will stick with what i say if Schilens can stay healthy i say the WR group is Holmes, Hill, Kerley, Schilens, Turner and Jackson or D. Ganaway.
    Karan, Thats right the Bills ON PAPER loaded up on the D. Thats why that opener is SO critical. Sounds crazy but it is.

  28. By Karan on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    With the exception of perhaps a 4th corner and an OLB, the Jets have done a great job fixing up the defense. However, offense, they haven’t done enough, just not enough.

  29. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    Frank, don’t matter what’s going on with the team, a classy player doesn’t run to the press with it like LT did before the team’s even off the field. And a smart one doesn’t do that and then wonder why he’s not wanted back. And Ira’s right about Edwards, he wouldn’t come back unless he could start and I’ll bet wayne’s right too about BE’s health, otherwise someone woulda snapped him up already. scjoe, I know it’s a shock to see the Jets draft 5 RBs in 4 yrs and then finally play them all to see what they got, but that’s what we’re gonna do for a change and it’s long overdue. Rex talks a good “ground and pound” but all he’s done since his 1st yr is let Schotty mess up the running game, though missteps by Sanchez and the OL sure didn’t help.

  30. By scjoe on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    64, so, you think that the 2012 version of “ground and pound” will be based solely on “looking at all of the RBs” on the roster to see what we have? That is the logic that has placed this Jet front office in the bottom tenth of the league. As I said to Ira, where is the RT? Where is the blocking TE? And of course, where is the “elite” RB to run this “ground and pound”?

  31. By joe on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply


  32. By joe on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    The article is about LT LT stated publically the 2011 NY JETS were the biggest DISFUNCTIONAL MESS of any team he has ever been associated with .SAME OLD JETS

  33. By joe on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply


  34. By SCfromNY on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    Now LT can go on dancing with the stars. Perhaps they will have an all NFL season.

    Seriously sometimes an elite running back does not work out. Look no further than the Texans to what you can get in free agency. Although even the best back needs a hole.

  35. By GaryC on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    Ira,in todays football sometimes egos get in the way of reality,edwards could be looking for more money then teams are willing to spend,a little like a fading starlet who still wants top billing.

  36. By Woody English on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    L.T. You are a wonderful human being and a great football player. Thank You for gracing Gang Greene with your wisdom and talents.
    I am looking forward to seeing you enshrined in Canton.

  37. By Charliejet on Jun 19, 2012 | Reply

    GaryC – agree on everything you said here.

  38. By GaryC on Jun 20, 2012 | Reply

    Joe, even with no experience at the wideouts it has to be better than last year, speed alone will open things up for Holmes with Hill and Shillens replacing plastico and mason.Look, if sparano was able to get good play out of Anthony Fasano he can get more out of Keller, better measurables.It will be more about the offensive line then with the receivers and the quarterback.

  39. By joe on Jun 20, 2012 | Reply

    Gary i think your splitting hairs as i dont believe the STEELERS ,PACKERS, GIANTS ,PATS SAINTS have anything to worry about .Yes we will run the ball better (SO WHAT ) When we play a team with an ELITE QB and get down by more than 7 THE GAME WILL BECOME A NIGHTMARE (see NE VERSES DENVER LAST YEAR )In todays NFL you CAN NOT EXPECT TO COMPETE FOR THE SB playing 80s style offence WITHOUT AN ELITE QB ITS FUTILE.The SF 49ERS are US WITH MUCH MUCH BETTER PERSONAL .After winning 15 games LAST SEASON THE VERY FIRST THING THEY DID WAS TRY TO GET PAYTON NO ELITE QB NO SB RING

  40. By joe on Jun 20, 2012 | Reply

    ps In all fairness to our WRS with SANCHEZ and TEBOW we will NEVER DISCOVER HOW GOOD THEY ARE OR CAN BE .Rothesburger ,Braddy MANNING BROS ALL make their recievers MUCH BETTER .In typical JET FASHION having one of the WORST RATED STARTING QBS IN FOOTBALL (SANCHEZ )DOESNT HELP .Our alternate QB -TEBOW couldnt hit the ocean WHILE STANDING ON THE BEACH

  41. By scjoe on Jun 20, 2012 | Reply

    GaryC, given the choice between Anthony Fasano or Dustin Keller, in Sparano’s system, or anyone’s system for that matter, I would take Fasano hands down! He is as good a receiver as Keller (who I am still waiting to see all the mismatches that were promised) and is a much better blocker. The biggest difference? Where they were drafted. I am just glad Rex hasn’t proclaimed Keller as the best TE in the NFL now that he is playing out the final year of his contract.

  42. By Row on Jun 20, 2012 | Reply

    LT was a great player for the Jets. He should have gotten more carries both years. With the exception of one game, I have seen very little that has impressed me from Greene. LT always had a TON of burst and most of the time was fighting to get to the line of scrimmage last year. Greene dances around and for some reason seeks contact. I would still like to see more of Powell who has seen no carries, but the fluke play where he fumbled on the goal line. I think everyone on the team should be forced to prove their roster spot in preseason. Actually, In the first 3 games, I’d like to see no wildcat and a TON of the starting offense. I would like to see blowouts. The Jet offense definitely did not blow anyone off the field last year. Go Jets

  43. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jun 20, 2012 | Reply

    scjoe, I didn’t say we don’t need a RT or a blocking TE and by the way we need a backup C and a solid backup G too. I said we don’t need to draft or pick up any more RBs until we play the FIVE OF ‘EM that we’ve recently drafted!

  44. By GaryC on Jun 21, 2012 | Reply

    scjoe, you can say fasano is a better blocking tightend but if you offered keller and fasano to the gms around the league,I bet keller wins hands down, just because shotty couldn’t use him to the best of his ability isn’t keller’s fault.we will see this year with Keller,Sanchez, McKnight under sparano or if it was shotty’s approach to offense.

  45. By scjoe on Jun 21, 2012 | Reply

    64, I know where you stand on the starting RT and the blocking TE, I also agree 100% about the need for the b/u G and center, but none were addressed in the draft or in free agency but yet that FIFTH RB was. I wont even go into the WR that was also selected high as well instead of those mentioned spots that were, and still are much more of a need. Thank you Mr T

  46. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jun 21, 2012 | Reply

    Row, I don’t want to see any Wildcat EVER, except maybe once a yr with Kerley, who throws a better spiral than Tebow. scjoe, that’s a great pt about those missing “match-up nightmares” that Keller’s supposed to have been creating but hasn’t been. These days a TE should be a dominant receiver or a crushing blocker and do far Keller isnt either. And since I’ll be happy to see the back of Sanchez this yr if he doesn’t step up, I’m not too worried about poor Mark losing his favorite target (by default, since he wastes the WRs). Our elite QB will just have to learn to throw to almost all-new WRs every yr like just about every other QB in the league these days.

  47. By scjoe on Jun 21, 2012 | Reply

    GaryC, I hear ya, BUT…. if Keller was “supposed” to offer all these mismatches like the Jets had advertised when they moved up and selected him, should it really have mattered who the OC was? I mean, I was not a huge supporter of Shotty, but you have to give him at least the benefit of the doubt when talking about his skills as an OC. If mismatches were there, I have to believe he would have recognized them. Want to know where I see a mismatch with a TE? In NE, that is where. But you are right, lets see if those “mismatches” suddenly appear under Sparano, because I would have to see them to believe them, at least on a consistent basis.

  48. By joe on Jun 21, 2012 | Reply

    Guys to be is it KELLER or is it SANCHEZ I know this SANTONIO HOLMES was a super bowl MVP when he had ROTHESBURGER

  49. By joe on Jun 21, 2012 | Reply

    LOL you guys remember the last game SANCHEZ PLAYED (MIAMI )When was the last time anywone saw an NFL QB throw 2 interceptions to two different interior d lineman in the same game.The above puts everything into perspective

  50. By SCfromNY on Jun 21, 2012 | Reply

    I think Keller drops too many passes and drops to the ground too quickly. In a perfect world the “mismatches” created would allow Sanchez to go to Keller after his primary is covered. Sanchez rarely makes it to his second read and almost never his third read. His ability to “see” the field is terrible and you do not need a great arm to do this. Montana was probably the best at progressions. I won’t mention Tebow since this is a QB discussion.

  51. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

    Great post on Sanchez and Keller, SCfromNY, amazing that you can so clearly see and state what so many others twist themselves into knots to deny.

  52. By scjoe on Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

    SCfromNY, I agree with almost everything you said above, but in reality, those “mismatches” should come from the offensive alignments and formations and what look the defense shows, not so much after the primary receiver is covered. I believe that is especially true in Sanchez case because he struggles considerably once that primary receiver is covered. Those “mismatches” that Keller was “supposed” to create would have been golden.

  53. By joe on Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

    Guys we could have C JOHNSON,AJOHNSON with Welker in the slot and Gronk at TE and Sanchez would still be Sanchez .You guys are EXACTLY correct if the primary is covered SANCHEZ has issues .What compounds these issues is if SANCHEZ gets pounded HE REMEMBERS THE ENTIRE GAME .The Giants pounded him and for the rest of the game INSTEAD OF LOOKING DOWNFIELD HE(SANCHEZ ) KEPT LOOKING AT THE GROUND.Dont worry fellas SPARANOS going to teach him not to do any of the ABOVE LOL Sanchez has been playing ORGANIZED FOOTBALL FOR OVER 15 YEARS and SPARANO IN A FEW MONTHS WILL CORRECT IT ALL on top of GIVING Sanchez NATURAL abilitys HE DOESNT HAVE Look what he(SPARANO ) did for HENNE IN MIAMI .DREAM, DREAM, DREAM DREAM

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