Tomlinson: Jets’ Turmoil ‘As Bad As I’ve Ever Been Around’

Future Hall Of Famer Says He's Not Sure If Sanchez, Holmes Can Coexist

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — LaDainian Tomlinson has never seen a locker room as troubled as the one he was in with the Jets this season.

In an interview with Showtime’s “Inside The NFL” airing Wednesday night, the running back said the team was plagued by tension between players as the Jets finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs after two straight trips to the AFC championship game.

Tomlinson said quarterback Mark Sanchez and wide receiver Santonio Holmes, in particular, had a rocky relationship — and that some tough decisions will need to be made if they can’t work it out.

“It is as bad as I’ve ever been around, honestly,” Tomlinson said of the locker room. “And I’ve been around some locker rooms and quarterback-receiver situations and what-not. But it was as bad as I’ve been around.”

Listen: Daily News’ Manish Mehta details Jets’ toxicity

The NFL’s fifth-leading rusher added that the problems got “out-of-hand toward the end of the season,” and were created by the brash approach of coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

“They created this,” said Tomlinson. “This is the type of football team that they wanted. Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan are both brash, in-your-face type of style — say whatever you want, just get it done on the field. And then it leads to other things, as guys are calling each other out and saying, `I’m not getting the ball’ or whatever it may be.”

Holmes was benched during the season finale at Miami after arguing in the huddle with teammates. Tomlinson said the tensions escalated to the point during the season where the players couldn’t do anything about it.

“When it gets to that point, there are certain changes that need to happen,” he said. “Can it be fixed? I think absolutely it can be, but they’re going to have to make some tough decisions.”

Holmes criticized the offensive line during the season, saying it wasn’t protecting Sanchez enough or giving him enough time to get the ball down the field to the receivers. Right guard Brandon Moore shot back, saying his public comments could have a “fracturing effect” and not the way a team captain — which Holmes was — should conduct business.

Tomlinson was asked if he would bring back both Sanchez and Holmes, given all the problems.

“Whew, that is a tough one,” Tomlinson said. “I would really have to sit down with them and see if they can co-exist, honestly. I mean that is a decision that I really have to make. And if I really feel like they can’t, then you have to make a move.”

Tomlinson said the Jets players poked fun at the feud, calling it the “East Coast-West Coast beef,” with Sanchez being from Florida and Sanchez from Southern California.

“In all seriousness, Santonio, obviously, he is a great player,” Tomlinson said. “There are some things that obviously he needs to work on as far as being a leader.”

Sanchez struggled down the stretch, throwing seven interceptions in the Jets’ last three games — all losses. He was highly criticized during the season by fans and media, and those comments intensified after the Jets’ final game. The Daily News quoted an anonymous player saying Sanchez was “lazy,” something Tomlinson disputed. But the running back agreed that Sanchez was “a bit pampered” because he had no real threat in the roster to take his job.

“He is not a lazy guy,” Tomlinson said. “He puts in the time after practice in the film room. He can get it done. He just has to have pieces around him to help him get it done.”

The 32-year-old Tomlinson will be a free agent after two seasons with the Jets, and is considering retirement.

“I love playing for Rex,” Tomlinson said before adding that he wished the coach would tune down the bravado.

“I don’t mind every now and again saying we are going to win a championship,” he said. “Maybe at the beginning of the year just saying, `Hey, our goal is to win a championship.’ But at the same time every week if you are calling out a team on certain things, I think it puts a little extra on your team. Guys really want to go out there and say, `Let’s shut this guy up. Let’s shut these Jets up, just end their season.’

“There are certain things that you can do to not have it come off like that.”

If Sanchez and Holmes can’t coexist, which one should go? Sound off below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • ....

    SANCHEZ SUCKS BIG TIME. When pro players, even teammates making statements like that it has to be true. They play the game not like the loser Jets fans. What do Jets fans know about football other then losing & not winning a title in over 45 years.

    SANCHEZ IS THE PROBLEM. He has one of the worst passing ratings in the NFL for a starting QB. It starts with him.

    Jets fans believed Rex pure nonsense that the Jets would win a title and are still waiting. LOL, LOL

  • Greg Jet Man in NE

    Sanchez a keeper, no doubt. Holmes, a serious problem. He must go. No doubt. Not a true fan that thinks otherwise. Let him destroy some other team. Worth at least 2 wins for us, 10-6 this past year.

  • Keith

    Holmes is just an asshole–send him packing.

  • bobtshirt

    Get rid of Holmes. He was a problem in Pittsburgh, and now he’s a problem in NY.

  • ALC

    Rex and Rob are both legends in their own minds. Their dad was mouthy too but he had some unbeatable and innovative defenses that were an integral part of two huge super bowl wins. Neither of his sons have that kind of talent. Holmes should shut his trap and be concerned with working hard EVERY PLAY to make a block or get open. He won’t do that though because that would be helping his team and his QB as a captain should. He’d rather be the focus of attention. Send the crybaby to Jacksonville, Jets. You won’t miss him and tell Rex to put a muzzle on it.

  • Herb Rash

    This is a pattern with the Jets, good team for 2-3 years then they implode. As a Dolphin fan I enjoy watching the drama, maybe we’ll do to sexy Rexy what we did to Mangenius in 2008, after losing the last game and being knocked out of the play-offs, getting him fired…..hahahaha

    • Herb Rash

      Oh yeah, enjoy your fist pumping field goal, new OC….hahahaha

    • Lewis

      really…really…? lol That’s all I can say Fish fan lol

  • brotherd

    The Jets need to send Santonio packing. It doesn’t mean that he won’t go somewhere else and be a pro bowl receiver. But Sanchez will never grow to his potential with Santonio in the huddle. Santonio is a way better player than Jeremy Shockey. However, he is to Sachez what Shockey was to Eli.

    Another factor to consider. Because Sanchez throws a flat ball, he needs bigger receivers. That is why he connected deep with Braylon Edwards more so than Santonio. Braylon is both tall and fast (when healthy) unlike Plaxico who is just tall. Sanchez needs both to connect deep. The Jets would do well to sign a healthy Edwards or something comparable on the cheap, rather than keep Santonio. Sanchez and Santonio is a broken public relationship. It can’t be healed privately in practice.

    Time to go Santonio. Nothing personal.

  • CDP

    I feel that Rex needs to be a man, sit them down and get them to work out their differences. He is the head coach and that’s his job. If they can’t work it out, dump Holmes. Yes its a salary cap hit, but if you leave him on the team you still have to pay him and he might end up hurting the team more by being a disruptive force. As for Sanchez, he is only three years in, and that fire that needs to be lit could be the realization that playtime is over and the coach grows a backbone with his players and won’t take any BS. Rex can be a talker all he wants but he needs to show his players that there is a line and if you cross it you will expect some consequences. Really its all on Rex.

  • Edward Rodriguez

    L.T., You got to learn to SHUT UP !! Either you want attention or trying to audition for being a T.V. commentator.First you slammed the Chargers from the GM, to the Head Coach, QB, OL ..etc. Now its the Jets turn. Really L.T. these kinda of things you say in the locker room not to the press.. You are not helping your cause to find another job within the NFL. Plus with these comments you made re-opened the wounds you left in San Diego, if you planned on retiring in a Charger’s uniform.

  • Peter

    with Sanchez being from Florida and Sanchez from Southern California ?

  • Steed

    Tomlinson said the Jets players poked fun at the feud, calling it the “East Coast-West Coast beef,” with Sanchez being from Florida and Sanchez from Southern California.

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Sanchez has a dual personality?

  • jhwrr

    The Jets can let Sanchez go and pick up Rex Grossman after Washington dumps him.

  • Tommy C

    I could care less . I said from day 1 it was only a matter of time before Santonio screwed-up. The dudes a clown . Its all about Santonio . What a poor excuse for a captain that ones on Rex.

  • Vincent

    The reality is that because of their contracts and the salary cap rules, neither one is going anywhere this year, unless Holmes forces the Jets hand. If that happens, a wide receiver is easier to replace than a QB. Remember that Alex Smith was drafted 7 years ago. As far as what happened in the Miami game; that was the team’s cancer coming to the surface.

    As for Rex; Woody Johnson thought the bravado would bring more attention and market share to the franchise and it did when they won. Can Rex pull in the reins? Is the Jets talent as good as they think? Time will tell.

  • Tony

    Been a jets fan since Joe and the super bowl Jets. been through the let down by Bill P with Vini and the insult by Bill B going to new england. Mark Sanchez could be a really good qb if he had the coaching. remember he is only in the league for three years. If the jets can get back to the ground and pound they can let go Holmes. all due respect Phil Sims managed the game and just didn’t loos games for the Gmen. I remember the giants fans complaining about Eli has to go, he has no control over his team. well, Eli took over after Tiki and Shockey left. he stepped up and took the team. Mark has the same ability and when the disfunction in the locker room is dealt with he too will step up. I love Rex but he does have to stifle it a bit. He puts too much preasure on his team each week. Please don’t let LT retire.
    just my opinion.

  • Joey Salanitri

    I think they both should go. Lets face it a lot of factors reflect Sanchez being a leader on the team, I mean before even being a qb. The game against Miami there was no gathering up the offense on the sideline trying to rally them up like a leader is supposed to do. He went back to the sideline after his pick late in the 4th quarter after his turnover in the red zone to linebacker put on his hat and looked up and down the sideline waiting for the game and the season to end.
    As for Santonio with his personality coming into the league he was suspended twice and quite honestly he sais that he was so emotional when Rex named him team captain because he was never a captain of anything. you now see the reason why. He’s not a leader and he’s all about Santonio and him being benched in a critical time with with the magnitude of the seasons implications on the line just proved my point. Let them both go. I’ve been a Jets fan along time and we have had bad, horrible seasons but, I’d rather lose with the season with a team that fights til the end rather than than lose with a bunch of overpriced, overrated players.
    While your at it get rid of the disease that plague’s this franchise, Rex Ryan. He’s got no business being a head coach for the Jets or any franchise. He’s done nothing in his career. He came from the Ravens a franchise that a Super Bowl while Marvin Lewis was the defensive coordinator, Rex was a corner backs coach. Please come back LT. Please check out my blog.

    • Terry

      You make some good points but the disease that is Rex Ryan? Dude your trying to hard to promote your blog by making asinine comments. Rex Ryan has brought more winning to this team than you have ever experienced and this was only his third yr. He will adjust his persona but he will not and should not chg, at all. Our team is who it is because of him and we will get to the super bowl something neither you or I have seen in our lifetime. Sanchez is not the problem, Schotty was. Sanchez mistakes can solely be blamed on the the teachings he recieved from the OC and QB coach, as he only started one yr in college. When you prepare your QB poorly, he preforms poorly in tight situations. If your not sure what a OC’s job is look it up or ask someone that actually played football, its much deeper than calling the plays on game day.

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