SI.com Home
Get SI's Duke Championship Package Free  Subscribe to SI Give the Gift of SI
Posted: Sunday March 14, 2010 11:30PM; Updated: Monday March 15, 2010 1:05AM
Jim Trotter
Jim Trotter>INSIDE THE NFL

LT's signing with Jets came down to staff, scheme, personnel likes

Story Highlights

LaDainian Tomlinson reportedly had to choose between the Vikings and Jets

The Jets have a more secure QB status (Sanchez) than the Vikings (Brett Favre)

LT's familiarity with Brian Schottenheimer also played a role in the signing

Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
T1_0314_LTmiralle.jpg
Running back LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 12 touchdowns and a career-low 730 yards with the Chargers last season.
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
NFL Team Page

Start spreading the news: Running back LaDainian Tomlinson is headed to New York after signing a two-year deal with the Jets.

Financial terms were not immediately available, but a league source said Tomlinson chose New York over Minnesota because of:

1. Scheme: New York runs the same offense that LT played under for nine seasons in San Diego, rushing for 12,490 yards and 138 touchdowns. He would have had to learn a new playbook and verbiage in Minnesota. The Jets also are committed to the running game; their 607 rushes last season were 82 more than any other team, and Tomlinson wanted to get back to a ground-oriented attack after San Diego transitioned to an aerial assault in 2007, when Norv Turner replaced Marty Schottenheimer as coach.

2. Staff: Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer -- Marty's son -- was the quarterbacks coach in San Diego for five of Tomlinson's first six seasons, including 2006 when Tomlinson won the first of two rushing titles and his only league MVP. Tomlinson's familiarity with the younger Schottenheimer was important from a comfort standpoint.

3. Personnel: Tominson said from the start that he wanted to play on a team that had an established quarterback, and the uncertainty over Brett Favre's future was a factor. Favre led the Vikings to the NFC Championship game in his first year with Minnesota, but he's mulling retirement and has been given no deadline for making a decision. If Favre calls it a career, the Vikings presumably would turn to Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson, neither of whom has proven himself to be a capable fulltime starter.

The Jets are not getting the Tomlinson who broke or matched 28 Chargers records during his career. He turns 31 in June and is coming off a season in which he set career lows for carries (223), yards (730) and yards per carry (3.3). But Tomlinson believes his decline in production each of the past three seasons is largely a function of the change in emphasis, with Turner running the offense through QB Philip Rivers.

In New York, Tomlinson will back up and mentor Shonn Greene, a bruising second-year pro who came into his own late last season. Tomlinson is expected to spell him in passing situations and on third-down and help fill the void from Thomas Jones' release. Jones ran for 1,402 yards and 14 TDs last season, but the team released him because it didn't want to pay the nearly $6 million in salary and bonus that Jones was scheduled to earn this year. Jones has since signed with Kansas City.

ADVERTISEMENT
YES, I WILL TAKE THE SURVEY

MAYBE LATER

NO THANKS
SI.com
Hot Topics: Boston Marathon NBA Playoffs NHL Playoffs LaMarcus Aldridge Dwyane Wade Carlos Gomez
TM & © 2013 Time Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved. Terms under which this service is provided to you. Read our privacy guidelines and ad choices.
SI CoverRead All ArticlesBuy Cover Reprint