FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — This could be the end for LaDainian Tomlinson.
The Jets running back is a free agent after this season, and he acknowledged that the regular-season finale Sunday at Miami could be the last game of his career if New York does not make the playoffs.
"There's definitely the thought that this possibly could be because you never know how things shake out," Tomlinson said Thursday. "For me, it just depends on the situation. I've said that before. I would love to keep playing, but if the situation is not right, then I won't. And this possibly could be my last game."
Tomlinson signed a two-year deal with the Jets in 2010 after nine record-breaking seasons with the San Diego Chargers. When asked if he would hypothetically accept the veterans' minimum salary to return to the Jets, Tomlinson smiled and made it clear he would want more.
"I've got kids, man," he said with a laugh. "I mean, I don't know. It would be hard for me to do that. It's never been about the money for me. It really hasn't. But at some point, you have to close that chapter if it just doesn't line up. So I'm just going to wait and see what happens."
That means the 32-year-old Tomlinson would be willing to play elsewhere in 2012, but will talk to his family and agent in the offseason before deciding on what he wants to do.
"I'm open to anything," he said. "It doesn't have to be here. It could be another place. I'm just open to playing football."
Tomlinson would want to play only for a team that has a shot at a championship – the reason he chose Rex Ryan and the Jets nearly two years ago.
"Speaking off the top of my head, obviously, I've played this game a long time," he said. "I don't want to go to someone that's going to lose every week. That's not going to be fun."
Tomlinson will enter the regular-season finale needing 35 yards rushing to pass Jerome Bettis for fifth place on the NFL's career list. He has 224 yards rushing this season after taking a backseat to Shonn Greene for the starting job, but has been an effective third-down back with 38 catches for 426 yards.
"If it is my last game, I've enjoyed 11 years of playing football, playing a kids' game," Tomlinson said. "Two great organizations. Obviously being here the last couple of years, I've really enjoyed my time here. The fans have been great. My teammates have been great, the coaching staff. There's really nothing I can complain about. Really."