RB #21 LaDainian Tomlinson
Late Sunday night, the Jets officially confirmed that they had reached an agreement on a contract with free agent running back LaDainian Tomlinson. After arriving in New Jersey late Thursday and spending Friday with key members of the Jets staff, LT flew back home to San Diego on Saturday. And then a day later, the future Hall of Famer became a member of the Green & White.
Since his college days at Texas Christian University, Tomlinson's football career has been marked by production on and off the field. While we await LT's first public comments since picking the Jets, let's take a quick look at Tomlinson by the numbers.
0 —No need to wonder what drives Tomlinson after all these years. He doesn't have a championship ring and he thinks the Jets will give him his best opportunity for an elusive title. "He wanted to go to a team that he thought had a chance to compete for the championship," said Tomlinson's agent, Tom Condon, in an interview with the The Associated Press.
1 —After getting selected in the first round (No. 5 overall) by the Chargers in 2001, Tomlinson rushed for 112 yards and two TDs in his pro debut against the Cincinnati Bengals.
2 — LT has been the NFL's rushing king twice in his career, outdistancing his competitors with 1,815-yard and 1,474-yard campaigns in 2006 and '07 respectively.
3 — No player in NFL history has more overtime touchdowns than LT's three.
4.3 — A back averaging that many yards per attempt in his career, Tomlinson will now have the good fortune of running behind the NFL's best offensive line. The Jets led the league in rushing in Rex Ryan's first season as head coach and none of their top three ballcarriers averaged less than 4.2 yards a carry.
5 — A Pro Bowl player five times, Tomlinson was also the NFL's MVP in 2006.
7 — Even though he's caused much of his devastation on foot, LT actually tossed seven TD passes during his Chargers tenure.
8 — In nine professional seasons, Tomlinson ranks No. 8 on the NFL's all-time rushing list with 12,490 yards. Jets great Curtis Martin is No. 4 all-time as he amassed 14,101 yards during his spectacular career.
16 —Tomlinson has reached the 100-yard mark an impressive 47 times (46 regular-season games and one postseason), and he's also hit triple digits in back-to-back games on 16 occasions.
21 —Nickel corner Dwight Lowery currently owns the Jets' No. 21 jersey, but you have to wonder if a switch is on the way as LT's donned No. 21 in each of his 148 career regular-season and playoff games.
28 —When all is said and done, Tomlinson will be remembered as one of the greatest Chargers of all time. He owns or shares 28 team records.
31 — Tomlinson set the NFL single-season mark with his 31 offensive TDs (28 rush, three receiving) in '06. He also coincidentally will turn 31 on June 23.
85 —In a 20-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 17, 2006, Tomlinson took the longest jaunt of his career, an 85-yard score.
100/1000 — Always a multipurpose threat, Tomlinson had a ridiculous third pro season as he became the first player in history to rush for 1,000 yards (1,645) and catch 100 balls in the same season.
138 —Held to a career-low 730 yards on the ground in '09, LT still scored 10 times and his 138 career rush TDs are second-most in league annals. (And his 153 total TDs rank third).
379 —The 5'10", 221-pounder has averaged 379 offensive touches a season. Equipped with trusty hands and great route-running skills, LT's hauled in 59 grabs a season.
You could make an endless list with Tomlinson, but let's conclude with an unknown count of folks he's impacted with the Tomlinson Touching Lives Foundation. LT annually hosts football camps in San Diego and his native Texas as well as a golf tournament and a fishing trip for kids from The Monarch School for homeless and at-risk teens in San Diego.
Touching Lives provides more than 2,100 San Diego families with Thanksgiving meals and more than 1,500 gifts for the Christmas holidays to the patients at San Diego's Children's Hospital and Health Center. Tomlinson was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2006.