LaDainian Tomlinson Could Be Newest Jet

Veteran could be Shonn Greene's running mate

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images

    The last time the Jets saw LaDainian Tomlinson, they were helping grease his way out of San Diego by shutting him down in the playoffs.

    Friday will be a happier occasion for the man some call LT -- there's only one in these parts -- as he comes to town to let the Jets take their best shot at wooing him to their team.

    If he does sign with the Jets, Tomlinson would join a long list of veteran stars joining local teams late in their careers to varying effects. Theo Fluery was an abject disaster with the Rangers, Randy Johnson was a miserable sign of the Yankees' obsession with the wrong players and no one associates Ronnie Lott or Art Monk with the Jets.

    There have been more positive ones, though. Willie Mays might not have played all that well with the Mets but they made it to the 1973 World Series and Wayne Gretzky hardly embarrassed himself during his Rangers tenure.

    Where would Tomlinson fall on the spectrum? A lot of that will depend on how willing he is to take a back seat to Greene and, possibly, Leon Washington in the team's offense. Tomlinson clearly isn't up to a heavy workload any longer, but he's a good receiver and pass blocker who would make a good complement to the other backs in the mix for the Jets.  

    The problem might be in convincing him that it truly is a mix and isn't a place where he can step in and take the Thomas Jones role of lead back in the rotation. That's not a good spot for him and he's sent out muddled signals about how much he understands that's the case. The Jets would likely be a truer share than they were for most of last season, when Jones dominated the carries, but Tomlinson won't necessarily play a lot every week. He didn't get it in San Diego, so there's reason to wonder if he'll get it with the Jets.

    The Jets aren't alone in the Tomlinson sweepstakes, however. The Vikings are also hot on his trail and there might be some allure to playing in a dome for a veteran player who has struggled with injuries down the backstretch of his career. He'd probably get more chances with the Jets, however, unless he's banking on Adrian Peterson continuing to fumble the ball with the regularity of an Activia eater.

    While many might wonder why Jones was so quickly swept aside to make room for a guy whose best days are in the rearview mirror, the Jets definitely need another back to throw into the stew. Tomlinson has a skill set that works, it's just a matter of if he'll be willing to accept moving from star to supporting player.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.