LT: "I Didn't Feel Connected to the Team"

If you didn't have the time to listen to the link posted by Axion yesterday of LaDainian Tomlinson's interview with Scott & BR, I've broken down most of the key points after the jump.  I even added in my two cents to most of his comments, because I'm a self-absorbed ego-maniac.

I know it's silly when I tell stories from my one day in the Chargers locker room and act as if they're the certifiable truth, but I'm going to do it again.  The two times I was in that locker room, I accounted for every Chargers player except for two.  Eric Weddle (who was injured and could usually be found walking around giving interviews to everyone) and LT.  I assumed LT was in the trainer's room both times, but now I'm starting to wonder.  If he disliked this locker room, and this group of guys so much, is it possible that he was spending time elsewhere (possibly the trainer's room) just to get away from them?

I don't think it's that far-fetched.  It's not like the locker-room is all business.  Hell, the entire offensive line was sitting around telling jokes every time I saw them.  A lot of guys were getting dressed and then getting to their cars to go grab lunch (or dinner, or whatever), but while they were doing that they were dancing to music and talking to reporters or teammates.  That seems like a situation that may have made Tomlinson a bit uncomfortable.

LT is a bit of a freak in the NFL.  I read his mother's book about him and I think I sortof understand his personality from that.  He's everything you'd expect him to be, or at least he is when his mother writes about him.  He's not incredibly quite or shy, but he'd never be called loud.  He's not overly emotional, but his emotions are strong.  He is far too honest to be a bad person, because he'd never be able to lie to his mother, his wife or even the Charger fans.  

LT is what we'd all like our athletes to be: humble, honest and normal.  However, in a world where his co-workers make millions of dollars a year because of how fast they can run or how far they can throw, those qualities have become rarer and rarer.  The Reggie Whites of the NFL have turned into Ray Lewis (humble? honest? normal?), and LT is finding it harder being a different kind of guy when he's not the star of the team.

Anyways, credit all around here.  Credit Scott & BR for asking the right questions and credit LT for answering them all honestly.

 

  • LT's wife is doing well with her pregnancy.  She's due in July, but they don't yet know the sex of the baby.
  • LaDainian can imagine what it would be like to play somewhere else next season and thinks he could have success wherever he plays.
  • If the Chargers want LT back, he wants to come back for 2010.  However, he will not renegotiate his contract with San Diego.
  • S&BR: "Were you happy this year?" LT: No.  (Somebody's been lying to Kevin Acee....)
  • LT does not need to be a feature back.  He's always enjoyed having another talented RB on the team to share carries with.
  • Tomlinson seems to insinuating that the Chargers weak rushing attack in 2009 had more to do with Norv Turner than himself.  The telling statement for me is "If you know how to run the ball, you know how to run it" when discussing whether or not LT needs a talented FB in front of him to be successful.
  • LT didn't even know about Vincent Jackson being pulled over before the Jets game until days afterwards, even though there was plenty written about the team joking about it after the game.  That says something about LT's involvement in the locker room.
  • "There was a big part of this year, for whatever reason, where I didn't feel connected to the team."  Things are starting to get juicy now.  If I could read into LT's half-sentences (it's obvious he doesn't want to cause problems, so he's trying to choose his next words carefully), it seems to me that LT thinks his ability to be a team leader was hampered by his diminished role in the offense.
  • "These guys that come into the league, it's not about the same values anymore.  Faith, family, football.....to them it's not about that anymore."  I agree and disagree.  The nucleus of this team is not that old, and guys like Antonio Gates, Philip Rivers and Quentin Jammer are men of those values.  I think LT is talking specifically about guys like Vincent Jackson, Shawne Merriman, Shaun Phillips, Antonio Cromartie and any other Chargers players that are single and usually end up at the club after a game.  I'm not going to say LT is wrong is what he's saying, because I agree, but I don't think this is a problem with the Chargers specifically.
  • "If that's going to be allowed......I can't deal with that type of stuff anymore."  This interview, in it's entirety, was a criticism of some of the Chargers younger players (specifically the ones that get in trouble with the law) and also of Norv Turner.  Not just of Norv's play-calling either.  Whether or not it's true, and I think both sides differ in their thoughts on this, LT makes it sound like he'd be happy to have the opportunity to be a free agent so that he can end up on a more disciplined team (like the Patriots or Colts) that is focused on football 100% of the time.
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