LaDainian Tomlinson: I’d Choose Hall Of Fame Over Super Bowl Ring
New York Jets
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NEW YORK (WFAN) – The Jets have had their fare share of great players, though only Joe Namath’s Super Bowl III team reached football’s pinnacle.
In fact, the franchise hasn’t been back to the big game since.
Running back LaDainian Tomlinson was there for the Jets’ last great chance, a 24-19 loss in the 2010 AFC Championship game against the Steelers. But Tomlinson, who retired last week as a member of the San Diego Chargers, said Monday he would rather be enshrined in Canton without a ring than win a title sans his Hall of Fame resume.
When asked to make the choice on “SportsTalk,” Tomlinson said with little hesitation: “Hall of Fame player without a ring.”
He’s a lock to do just that. Tomlinson, selected by San Diego at No. 5 overall in the 2001 NFL draft, only got as far as his two AFC Championship game appearances.
His two years in New York were filled with plenty of Super Bowl talk, mostly from coach Rex Ryan. The Jets’ 2010 unit came close, while 2011 ended without a playoff appearance despite Ryan’s lofty guarantees.
“I feel you’ve got to sacrifice so much individually just to be good,” said Tomlinson. “Now they draft you, individually, they draft you. So you’ve got to back them up and make them right. And so I think at the end of the day, even though I didn’t win a Super Bowl ring, I felt like I backed them up for drafting me. I backed the San Diego Chargers up for picking me with the fifth pick.”
The 33-year-old agreed with NBA star Steve Nash, who has said a championship would be nice, but not needed in order to look back on a fulfilling career.
“I agree with him, because At the end of the day, you do all you can do individually,” said Tomlinson. “It’s a team sport, and the only thing you can do at the end of the day is look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘I gave it all I had.’ “
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