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

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  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.”

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