On Tuesday the New York Jets introduced their new running back LaDainian Tomlinson to the media via conference call. Both Tomlinson and Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum addressed several questions and here are some of their quotes:
“I have no ego. At this point it’s all about the opportunity to win a championship. … The Jets made it to the AFC Championship without me. How can I come in here and demand to be the starter. They were very good without me. I just want to be able to have a role on this team and contribute.”
“The way I approached the situation was like I was leaving high school, going to college. You’ve got to fit in and find a role on the team. I don’t expect anything to be given to me. I’m going to work for it. Wherever I fit in, I fit in.”
“I think the majority of the decision came down to having to learn a new offense vs. playing in an offense I already know and with somebody I already know in Brian Schottenheimer.”
“People are going to speculate what they want. That’s not my concern,” said Tomlinson, who added that he’ll be on hand for the start of the Jets’ offseason strength and conditioning program at their complex next Monday. “I love to play this game. I’m very passionate about playing. This is a new opportunity for me. I’m very excited about the opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.”
As expected LaDainian said all of the right things in his first press conference. The Jets will be LT’s best chance to get a significant amount of carries and his familiarity with Brian Schottenheimer’s offense will make it a smooth transition.
“We always say the best players play, and we expect LaDainian to play a lot and touch the ball a lot. We can’t say he’s going to carry it eight times or 28 times. We do know one thing. We’re going to run the ball a lot this season. I wouldn’t rule out adding another back in the draft if that opportunity presented itself. But with LaDainian, the type of man he is, I think he’s going to be a great representative of our organization and we’re really glad he’s here.
“I know Brian has big plans for him. I think he’s going to do a lot of different things and maybe we’ll see LaDainian and Shonn in the same backfield or LaDainian and Leon. We’ll see how it plays out, but I think there are going to be a lot of different ways that we’re going to try to use him and it’s just another club Brian has in his bag now.”
“He’s not had the production the last two years that he had earlier, which are obviously Hall of Fame numbers. But we felt he still had the ability to make people miss, he still had 12 rushing touchdowns [last season] and he was productive in the passing game. He had 52 receptions in ’08 and 20 last year, and he still is a very good pass blocker.”
To no one’s surprise Tannenbaum defended the Jets decision to sign LaDainian and bristled at questions about former Jet Thomas Jones. It is evident that the Jets are desperately trying to move on from the media nightmare that has been the release of TJ.
News and Notes
1) On Tuesday the Jets announced that they have re-signed veteran fullback Tony Richardson. Richardson will be entering his 16th season, but is very valuable as not only a blocker, but a veteran leader in the locker room.
2) Gang Green also announced on Tuesday that they have signed former Dolphin defensive end Rodrique Wright. Wright has been plagued by shoulder injuries and was not active in the 2009 season.
3) There are some rumors starting to circulate that the Jets could be the featured team on HBO’s Hard Knocks series. While some tend to think that this would be great exposure for Gang Green and their walking quote Rex Ryan, I tend to think it is an unnecessary distraction. The Jets are a team set to make another serious run through the playoffs and the less of a circus, the better.