The League

Sean McCann
Beat Writer

Sean McCann

Former Philadelphia Eagles beat writer for Gannett

Pats a good fit

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LaDainian Tomlinson is twice the football player and five times the man that Larry Johnson is. His best years were better than Shaun Alexander's and more plentiful too.
But does that mean LT will get more respect from NFL front offices than either one of those spent backs? Not necessarily.

Given his own stated criteria and the relative needs and tendencies of different organizations around the NFL, there are only a handful of landing places for a guy who found the end zone 153 times.

Tomlinson insists he wants to go someplace he can win a championship, and I certainly get that. He's guaranteed $1 million from San Diego this season regardless, so maybe money is less of an issue than it might be, and he's been standing on the cusp for so long with the Chargers, finishing with a loser would just be depressing.

However, his contender stipulation thins the field considerably, especially since the squad that just cut him is one of those teams.

To get what he says he really needs, L.T. is going to have to give up more than just cash. He's also going to have to accept a role, probably a pass-catching, third-down sort of gig rather than the feature position he's always had.

So who does that leave? Houston isn't much of a contender, but the offense is powerful, and it could use a mentor type for Steve Slaton.

In the NFC, the Packers are an interesting possibility, as Ryan Grant hasn't been consistent enough to nail down that job. Of course, Green Bay's offensive line isn't likely to help Tomlinson's flagging yards per carry average any.

My money is on New England. The Patriots won't spend much money, but they will figure out how to use Tomlinson in a way that makes him look like a bargain. Plus, they have a history of scooping up San Diego's superstar runoff, having put Junior Seau's career to bed.

Ten years ago, the Patriots constructed their legend by winning with guys nobody ever heard of and nobody else wanted. Now -- first with Randy Moss in 2007 and now with L.T. -- they could win with a guy everybody's heard of... and nobody else wanted.

By Sean McCann  |  February 23, 2010; 12:02 AM ET  | Category:  Free Agency , Green Bay Packers , New England Patriots , Running Backs , San Diego Chargers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Maybe working for an organization that values discipline and teamwork would be good for a prima donna like Tomlinson.

But do the Pats really want another player who's attitude goes bad when times are tough (Moss)?

Posted by: ErikW65 | February 23, 2010 8:40 AM

Not to mention that the Pats are no longer the perennial favorites like have been in the past 5 years, so its not like they can dangle SB rings in front of guys like LT to win them over.

Posted by: ozpunk | February 23, 2010 2:09 PM

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