LaDainian Tomlinson typically spent preseason games in T-shirts and shorts with a towel draped over his shoulder during his nine seasons in San Diego. He looked more suited for a tailgate cookout in the parking lot, than an actual participant on the field.
Tomlinson sitting out the preseason was a summer tradition like pool parties, mosquitoes and Raiders fans thinking this was going to be the year that they turned it around.
That is going to change this year.
Tomlinson was a lock to start during his tenure for the Chargers. But now he is fighting for playing time with the Jets and that means the near unthinkable — actually playing during the preseason. Tomlinson has not seen any meaningful action in the preseason since, well, ever. Though he did make a few cameo appearances in preseason last year.
“With change comes different expectations,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer told the New York Daily News. “LaDainian’s fighting for playing time. He’s got to earn the right. He wants to have the chance to start. So, he’s going to have to play… We can look forward to (him playing more in the preseason). Hopefully that will have something to do with him getting energized and getting off to a great start.”
What kind of impact can Tomlinson have on the field this year? NFL.com contributor Jim Gigliotti believes that Tomlinson could fill a role similar to Marcus Allen‘s tenure with the Chiefs when he became a goal-line specialist.