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Respect LaDainian's Gangsta

LaDainian Tomlinson is the 2nd greatest tailback I've ever seen in my life.

Its something I've been pondering for the entire summer. After hearing numerous San Diego Chargers players pop off at the mouth and talk crazy about the greatest Charger in the franchises history, I wondered if San Diego truly realized what they were really doing to the man who made it okay to call someone other than #56, L.T. Now you might be asking, who is the greatest? That would be Barry Sanders, all hail the true king of tailbacks of a generation. Emmitt? Well...I've spoken my piece about #22 on numerous occasions, but this isn't about him right now.

LaDainian Tomlinson for the last three years (since 2007, when Norv Turner was hired) played for a team and a system that was not centered around LaDainian's talents. The year before, in 2006 under Marty Schottenheimer, L.T. put up as strong a statistical year as anyone in NFL history. Since...his carries how steadily declined, and the offense has thrown the ball much more. So, at age 31 he's now signing up for duty for the team that runs the ball more than any team in the NFL, the New York Jets. Have you seen Thomas Jones' numbers last season at age 31? Imagine if L.T. can replicate that!

So why have we seemingly discarded a man who for an entire decade was singularly the best back of an era?

Hearing Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers pop off about LaDainian after the fact wasn't a big surprise for me, because that's what Rivers does. He, along with some teammates, said last Sunday that it might be a "relief" that Tomlinson is now a New York Jet. "Maybe it was a little bit of a relief," Rivers told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "Maybe it's a feeling of, 'I can do a little more without wondering what he thinks.'"

Rivers isn't the only one that's had "words" about the departure of L.T. as Shaun Phillips and Antonio Gates have let the public know how they feel about the man leaving for Gotham City. Was there a reason you did all this talking after the man left? Maybe L.T.'s performance would've improved if you had venting these feelings earlier. No, you want to wait till after the fact, and use LaDainian as a unifying battle cry as to why the Chargers will easily win the AFC West then get bounced in the playoffs as usual.

This is the biggest blessing LaDainian could've ever asked for, and when you realize that Tomlinson's starting to approach the great Emmitt Smith for a couple of the records that some said, "would never be broken." (26 behind in total rushing TD's, 18 behind in rushing TD's.) Plus, I think we forget that LaDainian is the 3rd all-time leading rusher in NFL History. The fact that LaDainian is the 8th all-time leading rushers in NFL History is amazing.

So why do folks hate on LT? Maybe that game in the playoffs when LaDainian was hurt and didn't play, while subsequently Philip Rivers was lifted as a martyr because he was willing to play on no ACL whatsoever. Hey guess what? The Chargers still lost the game, right? So now everyone professes that Philip Rivers is an awesome QB (which he deserves, he is dope) and that LaDainian could've done more. Could he really have? What did you all expect from him?

Yes, L.T.'s kinda moody from time to time but just worry about putting a smile on his face and he's going to be a key factor on this team. Shonn Greene will appreciate the tutelage of L.T., Mark Sanchez and the receiving core will appreciate the experience since #21. Same with Rex Ryan, the receiving core and anyone else dealing with the squad. L.T.

Hell maybe all you have to do is help him electric slide to the house.

This question is open-ended to the reader, have we totally discounted what LaDainian Tomlinson has done for this league? How he's taken his flag and put it into the ground? Isn't there something admirable about that, yet we've cast stones and made him to believe that he's now an insignificant tailback. Do you want to see #21 succeed? Why or why not?


P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!


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