"I think at this point in my career, people put this label and this title on you once you get to a certain age: 'Yeah, he has to be a backup now.' I don't believe that. I absolutely don't believe that," Tomlinson, 31 next month, said Thursday. "You determine your role on the football field, and that's what the Jets have been so great about, allowing me to do that.
"They didn't put a label on me at all. They didn't say 'You know what? You're going to be a backup.' They said, 'No, you're going to prove what you can do on the football field,' and that's all I can ask."
It's certainly the right approach to allow everybody to compete for the starting job. Tomlinson is going to be on the roster. If he is the best man, he should be the starter. I still can't hide my skepticism, though. I don't think people are expecting him to be a backup because of his age. It has more to do with his production declining so much that he wasn't even coming close to rushing for the league average per carry despite having a passing game so good it forced defenses to play nickel in non passing downs.