INDIANAPOLIS IN - JANUARY 08: LaDainian Tomlinson #21 (R) and Tony Richardson #49 of the New York Jets celebrates after Tomlinson scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8 2011 in Indianapolis Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
According to Manish Mehta of the daily News, RB LaDainian Tomlinson will return to the team in 2011, and 2nd year FB John Conner will start at fullback. This news isn't exactly a surprise, but it was no guarantee that LT or T-Rich would be back. LT will make $2.4 million next season.
This news indicates that Tomlinson is probably willing to accept a reduced role next year, with Joe McKnight emerging as a legitimate option alongside bruiser Shonn Greene. Tomlinson started out fast, but his numbers tailed off a bit as the season went on.
Richardson may just retire at this point. He is considered one of the classiest men the league, which is indicated by his role recently in the CBA talks. I just remember in Hard Knocks when he was teaching John Conner the ropes, knowing very well he could have taken his job last summer.
Personally, I am happy with this move. LT can still be an effective back, and more importantly, a great leader in the locker room. Tony Richardson is gone. Jenkins and Woody were just released (although they may be back), as was Jason Taylor. That's a lot of veterans to go in one day, and it is nice to have at least one guy who knows how to go about his business. I imagine Rex had something to say about this as well.
Still, I would expect a reduced role for LT in 2011.