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Dan Parker
Browns Blogger

Dan Parker

DP is a Cleveland Browns' season ticket holder and currently writes for the Cleveland sports site Waiting For Next Year.

Tomlinson the Eagle?

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With LaDainian Tomlinson having been released, there is a short list of usual suspects that will most likely be pushing for his services. The one that jumps to the forefront is, of course, the Patriots. The Pats have a history of grabbing players on the downside of their careers who can still help a football team and dangling the promise of playing for a championship each year in front of them to get a few more productive seasons out of them. They have experience with running backs joining them for just that reason: Corey Dilllon and Fred Taylor spring immediately to mind.

The question I find myself asking when contemplating the premise of "Who can L.T. help?" is that I can't decide which L.T. any team will be getting. The landscape is littered with the carcasses of once-great running backs who simply ran out of gas. It's no secret that the career life-span of the average running back is one of the shortest of any position in football. The wear and tear adds up, and almost without warning a perennial Pro Bowler is an after-thought. It happened to Eddie George in Dallas; Emmit Smith and Edgerrin James in Arizona; Jamal Lewis in Cleveland; Shaun Alexander in Washington. And those are just the first few that popped into my head.

So, who can L.T. help? It's going to have to be a team with another decent running back in the fold already, as the days of L.T. being an every-down back are gone. Given that one would assume L.T. is looking for a place to compete for a Super Bowl ring, that also narrows the field a bit. Teams like Dallas and Baltimore already have a couple of guys that carry the load; teams like Arizona and Pittsburgh have young work-horse backs in waiting. My list is down to: New England, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Green Bay.

If I were Tomlinson and was picking from those five, it may sound cliche to say it but the two choices for me are Indianapolis and New Orleans. In the Saints, L.T. is reunited with Drew Brees, and becomes a part of a dynamic offense that won't need him to carry the load and can mix him in with the multiple receiver sets that make their offense go. And, in Indy, you have quite possibly the best quarterback in the history of the game, a team that doesn't run the ball excessively but puts its running backs in the best position to succeed. But, they don't really need "help" getting over the hump.

To that end, I'm led to one team: The Philadelphia Eagles. The Brian Westbrook clock is ticking loudly, and with his injury history and procession of concussions in 2009, the Eagles need another guy of that ilk to fill that whole. L.T. can run, he can catch out of the backfield, and he's hungry to win. In other words, he can do everything that Westbrook does that makes Philly's offense so dangerous.

Wherever L.T. ends up, it is my hope that he's not a shell of his former self. Nothing would make me sadder than seeing the best running back of my generation going through the motions while the game passes him by in a different jersey. Let's hope L.T. has one or two more great seasons before he has to hang them up.

By Dan Parker  |  February 23, 2010; 10:34 AM ET  | Category:  Free Agency , Indianapolis Colts , New England Patriots , New Orleans Saints , Philadelphia Eagles , Running Backs , San Diego Chargers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Nah, the Eagles are not the kind of team to take on an older player at a high premium, they are focused on getting younger on the offense. It is obvious that LeSean McCoy is the going to be the guy now and even with a diminished role I still see the team bringing Westbrook back for another season before he retires.

Posted by: ozpunk | February 23, 2010 2:12 PM

Yikes, well I was not expecting Brian to get released so maybe I will be wrong about LT as well!

Posted by: ozpunk | February 23, 2010 3:22 PM

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