Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tomlinson On the Verge of History

It has come to my attention that in the coming weeks we could see New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson. The 32-year back, who made a name for himself as an All Pro with the San Diego Chargers from 2001-2009, could find himself crack the top five in career rushing yards as early as tomorrow.

Currently sitting at 13,515 career rushing yards in his 11-year career, L.T. is now just 148 yards shy of passing former St. Louis Ram and Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome Bettis for fifth in the league's history.

Tomlinson has carried the ball just 34 times for 111 yards in seven games (just one start) behind Shonn Greene this season, meaning it is unlikely he will surpass "The Bus" in tomorrow's game against the Buffalo Bills.

But either way it's highly possible we could see him accomplish the feat against New England (Nov. 13), Denver (Nov. 17) or Buffalo (Nov. 27).
It's obvious that Tomlinson has already earned his spot in the Hall of Fame, and he still may play another season or two once 2011 wraps up. By the time the end of his career rolls around, Tomlinson may even find himself at No. 4 on the all-time list as he is just 586 yards shy of Curtis Martin's 14,101 rushing yards.

Sitting at No. 2 on the all-time rushing TDs list (144) behind Emmitt Smith's 164, Tomlinson will go down as one of the most dangerous running backs in the NFL's long history. Joining such names as Smith, Bettis, Martin, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Marcus Allen, Jim Brown, John Riggins, Franco Harris, Eric Dickerson and Earl Campbell.

Among the five ahead of him on the list, none of them (Smith, Payton, Sanders, Martin, Bettis) ever put up a 100+ reception, 700+ receiving yards, 4 TD season, which Tomlinson accomplished in 2003. One more sidenote, that same season ('03), L.T. rushed for 1,645 yards and 13 TDs at age 24 and did not make the Pro Bowl roster.

His accomplishments that season were overshadowed by Jamal Lewis' 2,000 yard season and Ahman Green's 1,800 yard, 14 TD season.

The fact Tomlinson was very successful coming out of the backfield as a receiver (602 receptions, 4,583 yards, 16 TDs) leads me to believe he may be the best dual-threat running back to ever play the game. His reception total is 17th among active players, not just RBs.

The one thing L.T. had going against him is he seemed to struggle in the postseason, rushing for 100 yards just once in 10 career playoff games (team has gone 5-5 in those games). He did manage to find the end zone on seven different occasions in those games, but averaged just 3.5 yards per carry throughout.

He still holds the record for most rushing TDs in a single-season, 28 in '06, and it's clear that his #21 jersey will be retired by the Chargers one day. Personally I'd love to see him put up one more respectable season with New York and then sign a one-day contract with San Diego before retiring a Charger.

He's a legend in Sunny San Diego.

Note: photo found and borrowed from, no copyright infringement intended

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