NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Facing his former team made LaDainian Tomlinson sick.
The veteran running back, who spent his first nine NFL seasons with San Diego before leaving as a free agent for New York, got his first start of the season Sunday.
He hung around as long as he could before leaving with the flu, and didn’t play a role as the Jets rallied for a 27-21 victory.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Tomlinson. “Officially, I’m closed with that chapter and ready to move on, just because I was able to face them. And winning certainly helps.”
Tomlinson finished with five rushes for 14 yards and three receptions for 37. He went over 600 career catches, but it was his backfield partner, Shonn Greene, who had the biggest impact with 112 yards rushing, averaging 5.6 yards a carry.
He became the fourth running back in NFL history to hit the mark, reaching the milestone midway through the first quarter. Tomlinson, sixth on the NFL’s career rushing list, joined Larry Centers (827), Marshall Faulk (767) and Keith Byars (610) as running backs with 600 or more receptions.
He got No. 600 on a 6-yard shovel pass from Mark Sanchez on third-and-7 from the Chargers 22.
“I woke up this morning feeling pretty bad, but was able to push through as long as I could,” Tomlinson said. “I basically didn’t have any energy and the flu really just took over.”
Jets coach Rex Ryan praised LT for even getting on the field.
“Before the game, he was ill, it looked like NASCAR coming in,” Ryan said. “Like getting four tires and gas, they were all working on him.”
Tomlinson said during the week he held no bitterness toward the Chargers, who had little interest in retaining him after the ’09 season. The 2006 league MVP came to New York, had a solid season last year and has been a key figure in the locker room for his leadership.
“I wasn’t going to treat it like a playoff game because both teams are going to continue to play the rest of their schedule,” he said. “But I’d be lying if I said this didn’t add some satisfaction.”
Earlier, Jets starting linebacker David Harris returned in the third quarter after injuring his left ankle. Harris left late in the second quarter, did some drills on the sideline at halftime and got back on the field as the period wound down.
Rookie defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis also left with an ankle injury in the opening quarter. He didn’t return.
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