PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 02: LaDainian Tomlinson #21 and Shonn Greene #23 of the New York Jets sit on the bench during a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 2 2010 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Noun: The final or eventual outcome or conclusion of a discussion, action, or series of events.
While Biography typically (but not always) focuses on players being signed or drafted by the Jets, Upshot is a feature created to evaluate and discuss departing players, hence the name. Today we look at the retiring LaDainian Tomlinson.
Salary Paid (after paycuts and bonuses): 3,225,000 USD.
Production (includes playoffs): Combined Yards: 2,171 or 1,485 USD per yard gained. Combined Touchdowns: 11 or 293,182 USD per TD. Combined First Downs: 88 or 36,648 USD per first down gained.
Longest gain: 74 yards (receiving).
Condition Issued: Injury free, Eighth all-time rushing leader, 5 time Pro Bowler.
Condition Returned: Injury free, retired, possible HOF'er, fifth all-time rushing leader.
We'll breakdown LDT's time with the Jets if you'd be so kind as to join us after the jump. Feel free to leave any thoughts or comments about Tomlinson including but not limited to favorite game day moments or your overall opinion of the player or his impact for the team.
LaDainian Tomlinson joined the team after a rocky departure from the San Diego Chargers, and what had developed into a public relations war with general manager A.J. Smith. Tomlinson declared an intent to retire a Charger but entered the free agency pool for the first time in his career as a professional player.
Tomlinson initially signed a contract with the Jets valued at 5,200,000 USD but this came down significantly after he willingly took a pay cut of the better part of three million dollars in 2011 in order to keep his roster spot, something he was believed to have balked at in San Diego. Tomlinson said he chose the Jets over other teams such as the Vikings because of the team staff, philosophy, and because he considered them the most likely team to give him one of the few accomplishments not on his résumé, a super bowl ring.
In 2010, Tomlinson ran for 914 yards and 6 touchdowns on a 4.2 yard per carry average, and he had 52 receptions for 368 yards. Tomlinson actually out-rushed Shonn Greene, the player he was supposedly brought in to split carries with, by nearly 150 yards in 2010. Tomlinson perhaps had his greatest impact in the 2010 AFC Playoffs victory against the Colts, when he ran for 82 yards and both of the Jets only touchdowns in that game. The next week Tomlinson would have a similar impact by catching a TD pass from Mark Sanchez which clearly made the difference in the Jets 28-21 victory. Conversely, a failed conversion attempt by Tomlinson on 4th and goal effectively sunk the Jets two weeks later against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who ultimately won the AFC championship game by 5 points, less than the difference the missed opportunity would have made.
In 2011, Tomlinson took a notable pay cut in order to remain with the team as the third-down back. Tomlinson's accomplishments were largely limited to setting or breaking records, and cementing his place among all-time great rushers. LaDainian ran for 280 yards, his YPC fell to 3.7, and his receptions fell by ten, however his receiving yards (and average) rose to 449; and he scored 3 all-purpose touchdowns.
Soon, it became apparent that both the Jets 2011 playoff hopes and Tomlinson's playing career were coming to an end. Although Tomlinson would technically be a free agent again, he claims to have known he was going to retire at least by January of this year. These are likely reasons for some of LDT's "rogue" interviews and press spots in the waning days of the 2011 season, in which his unfiltered and sometimes brutally honest evaluations of the team earned him a bit of a negative reputation with some of the Jets fans out there. The truth is that Tomlinson is very likely the most prolific non-anonymous player to be "fanning the flames" of the Jets "media circus".
Some people, such as myself, like to fancy themselves sports writers, and these delusional gossip-hungry professional trolls don't really view juicy little tidbits from the locker room with the same negativity that you might. Part of the reason for that is, in my own honest but personal and highly subjective evaluation, the media is almost entirely to blame for the Jets media circus. Every Cimini or Mehta out there citing unnamed sources airing random gossip that likely can't even be disproved feeds the beast more than any disgruntled or retiring player really could. It is a self-sustaining monster, consuming its own waste of half-truths, omissions, bad paraphrasing, and exaggerations. They want there to be a story, they need there to be a story if they want to live comfortably. For these reasons, this retrospective is fairly kind to Tomlinson on the subject, perhaps more than it should be. In some ways, Tomlinson is kind of like the rude or self-centered retiree that gets a pass because of his age.
Just last month, LaDainian Tomlinson signed a superficial contract with the Chargers, ending his career with the team he had declared his intentions to do two years prior. Officially departed from the Jets, it's now fair to ask (and comment on graciously in the section below) what the upshot of signing Tomlinson was. Some will regard him as a legend who helped give the team a reputation as desirable to sign with and single-handedly delivered a playoff victory over the Colts. Other Jets fans will think of dead weight and locker room cancers when Tomlinson is mentioned. My own opinion is that 88 first downs is hard to ignore, and whether you like the man or not, Tomlinson made (and broke) the chances of some of the Jets biggest games over the last two years. I certainly won't ever forget when THE LaDainian Tomlinson joined the team.
What do you think of LaDainian Tomlinson and his two seasons with the New York Jets?