Tomlinson signs with Jets – LT officially leaving San Diego
On Sunday LaDainian Tomlinson’s agent, Tom Condon, announced that the New York Jets had signed the former Chargers running back to a two-year contract. The Jets confirmed shortly thereafter that they have agreed to a deal. Tomlinson, who we all know is pretty much a for sure Hall of Famer, is expected to back up second-year running back Shonn Greene, who emerged in his rookie season as the number one running back, thus making Thomas Jones too expensive to keep around. Jones signed with Kansas City last week after running for a career-high 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The Jets had worked hard to sign Tomlinson. L.T., as he is affectionately known to San Diego fans, turns 31 in June, and some questions have arisen as to how much he may have left. New York apparently still sees enough to like in Tomlinson, to offer him a deal worth about $5.2 million, even though he ran for only 730 yards on 223 carries for an average of 3.3 yards per carry last season; all career lows.
Tomlinson who, as San Diegans know, was summarily cut in February by the Chargers, chose New York over Minnesota. He visited the Vikings on Thursday, then spent Friday with the Jets, finishing it off with a ‘feel good’ dinner with coach Rex Ryan, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and others. Apparently it worked, since a deal was done two days later.
Agent Condon spelled it out in a phone interview with the Associated Press. “He wanted to go to a team that he thought had a chance to compete for the championship,” Condon said. “He wanted to go somewhere where he had a chance to have a significant role, and so with the Jets he also was going to be very familiar with the offensive system.” New York obviously hopes Tomlinson can not only contribute on the field, but be a leader in the locker room as well. While he clearly won’t be the focal point of the offense, a role he has said he has no problem with, he still should pose a potential threat with the ball in his hands.
For Tomlinson, it looks like a good fit for other reasons, too. He’s familiar with the Jets’ offense and its coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, San Diego’s quarterback coach from 2002-05 under father Marty. The Jets also feature a pretty solid offensive line that helped pave the way for New York to average a league-leading 172.2 yards on the ground per game.