EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

January 17, 2007

Tomlinson's whining a bad sign for Chargers' future

The great thing about the NFL - maybe the greatest of them all besides game days - is the simplicity of it all.



Most games are on Sunday. Monday is the day the players look at the film and we ask questions about the day before. Tuesday is the day off and Wednesday is the day you start looking ahead to next Sunday.



But along comes LaDainian Tomlinson, formerly deserving of the nickname "L.T." Two days later, he's still talking about Sunday.



Worse, he's whining about Sunday, aka old news.



Let me set the record straight: This guy is Jerry Rice as a running back. He's the best I've ever seen (I never saw Jim Brown or Gayle Sayers). His agility, matched with his speed and strength, make him extra special. And from all accounts, his behavior off the field has earned him the respect of nearly everyone who knows him.



Here's what he said after the loss to the Patriots:



"When you go to the middle of our field, when you start doing the dance that Shawne Merriman is known for, that's disrespectful to me. And I can't sit there and watch that. And so, yeah, I was very upset. And just the fact that they showed no class at all. Absolutely no class. And maybe that comes from their head coach. So you know, there you have it."




I was going to give him a mini-mulligan here. He was devastated of the fact his team had more talent then the New England Patriots yet it lost, 24-21, in the AFC Divisional playoff game at home.



But then on Monday, he was asked about the possibility he may run into Patriots coach Bill Belichick at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii the week after the Super Bowl (the losing coaches of the conference championship games coach their respective all-star unit).



"I thought about that," Tomlinson said. "It will be pretty interesting. I don't know how that'll go over. I probably wouldn't say two words to him ... Marty (Schottenheimer) always tells us after the game to act like we've been there before. To me, if guys are acting like that, then it comes from top to bottom, in my opinion. Now I may be wrong."



Immediately after Sunday's win by the Patriots, I had wondered how the Chargers would react, specifically Tomlinson. My first inclination was that he would ensure the Chargers would be greater than great.



I was wrong. The Chargers are dead meat in 2007, especially if their coach comes back. Tomlinson is in denial.



Tomlinson's venom should be directed at his wide receivers, who dropped four balls that if only two were caught, the Patriots probably would have lost.



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