Does Jets Running Back LaDainian Tomlinson Have Anything Left in the Tank?

by NESN Staff

June 29, 2010

No bolt, no problem.

Jets newcomer LaDainian Tomlinson is ready to show the NFL and the AFC East in particular that a change of scenery is just what the former Charger needs to get back on track as the game's best rusher.

And he'll get plenty of opportunity, too, as head coach Rex Ryan predicts LT to get around 15 carries per game next season, his first in Jets green and white.

The running back with the third-most touchdowns in NFL history (153) is coming off a down season in San Diego where he posted a career-low 730 yards and 223 carries in 14 games played. Although he pounded in 12 touchdowns in 2009, the Chargers ultimately decided to let him walk and went with Darren Sproles and Ryan Matthews as the future backfield. This let LT escape to New York

The way things ended in San Diego has "LaDainian coming out with a chip on his shoulder," according to his NYJ teammate Kris Jenkins.

But is a chip on his shoulder enough to pave the way for the Jets' ground game?

"It makes me feel great because these are guys who really don?t know me and they didn?t know what I was going to bring to the team," Tomlinson told Eric Allen of "Just to get out there and kind of show them what I can bring to the team, I think it changes a lot of guys? perception maybe of what they though before I came."

Ryan is exciting to have the future Hall of Famer on board, especially after Leon Washington (Seahawks) and Thomas Jones (Chiefs) fled town this offseason, leaving just second-year back Shonn Greene in quarterback Mark Sanchez's backfield.

"He's got a lot more left," Ryan explained. "You see him out here bouncing around, doing a great job with protections, carrying the ball, and he still has that wiggle. On third-and-10 we ran the ball, we had this little fold play. He made two or three cuts. He clearly would've made 20 yards. I was like, ?Yeah, yeah, this is our guy.?"

The nine-year veteran has seen his fair share of bumps and bruises in the past, including ankle injuries in 2009, toe injuries in 2008 and groin problems in 2004. But does LT have anything left in the tank that he can offer the Jets? Can he return to even half the form he had in2006 when he rushed for an NFL record 31 TDs?

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