LaDainian Tomlinson: The Last Of His Kind

LaDainian Tomlinson announced his retirement from the game this afternoon.

The Numbers:

  • Rushing Yards: 13, 684
  • Rushing Touchdowns: 145
  • Receiving Yards: 4,772
  • Receiving Touchdowns: 17

Then add on his numbers as a passer: 8/12, 143 yards, 7 touchdowns.  That’s eight completions, 7 of which went for scores.

In his prime, LaDainian Tomlinson was as money within the RedZone as Shaq was two feet away from the basket.  Seriously – Ld.T. gobbled up touchdowns like like a madman.  His face deserves to go up on the Mount Rushmore for Greatest Running Backs of All-Time (Jim Brown, Walter Peyton and Barry Sanders would be the other three).  Mike Freeman of CBSSports did a wonderful job summing up the man behind the visor and facemask.

For those who never knew him as a player, this is why he was important. Tomlinson got it. He took seriously his role as an ambassador of the game. He speaks about the sport without sounding hypocritical or sanctimonious. He wasn’t one of these players or coaches who discuss their love of God while having seven different kids with six different women.

This is an unusual thing in today’s sports world, as the good guy-jackass ratio continues to head in the wrong direction. Tomlinson has been among the stable isotopes in a sport that is often radioactive. This isn’t to say he was perfect but if he had been, say, in the Saints’ locker room, the bounty scandal likely would have never happened. He would have told Gregg Williams to shut the (expletive deleted) up.

Tomlinson exhibited a certain sense of class that radiated through the screen during his postgame press conferences.  He was very soft-spoken, never me first.  I feel very fortunate to have watched him play over these last eleven years.  His greatness on the field will truly be missed.

Mike Freeman: Retiring Tomlinson makes the right move at the right time, as alwaysWill Brinson: No one had a nose for the end zone like LaDainian Tomlinson


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