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The Jets Have Their Own LT

The Jets have signed running back LaDainian Tomlinson to a two-year contract, adding an aging star to an offense that ranked No. 1 in rushing last season.

Tomlinson’s agent, Tom Condon, confirmed the deal Sunday night.

LaDainian Tomlinson acknowledged the crowd at Qualcomm Stadium in  November.

The Jets have signed running back LaDainian Tomlinson to a two-year contract, adding an aging star to an offense that ranked No. 1 in rushing last season.

Tomlinson’s agent, Tom Condon, confirmed the deal Sunday night.

“He wanted to go a team that he thought had a chance to compete for the championship,” Condon told the AP. “He wanted to go somewhere where he had a chance to have a significant role, and so with the Jets he also was going to be very familiar with the offensive system.”

The Jets reached the AFC championship game last season, eliminating Tomlinson and the Chargers along the way.

Tomlinson spent Friday with the Jets, capping it with dinner with coach Rex Ryan, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and other team officials.

The 2006 NFL MVP was cut last month by San Diego. He chose New York over Minnesota after visiting the Vikings on Thursday.  Even after leaving Minnesota with a jerey under his arm, he chose the bright lights of Broadway.  More like the swamps of the Meadowlands.

The Jets went after Tomlinson hard even though he turns 31 in June and is coming off his least productive season.

Tomlinson ran for 730 yards and 3.3 per carry. He scored 12 touchdowns.  He’s expected to back up Shonn Greene, who became the starter after leading-rusher Thomas Jones was released last week.  Tomlinson ranks eighth on the NFL’s career rushing list with 12,490 yards.

LT and Jets Close To Signing, But Not Close Enough

LaDainian Tomlinson, the sixth-leading rusher in NFL history, is talking to the New York Jets about the future after nothing came of his talks with the Vikings.

What happens to running backs when they turn 30?  That’s a rhetorical question if there ever was one but do their skills erode to such a degree that they are no longer serviceable?  Was there a game, a quarter, or even a play that stole their magic and turned them from a god of the gridiron into a mere mortal?

LaDainian TomlinsonPhysically, they look the same.  The number on their jersey hasn’t changed nor does a red cross mysteriously materialize on their helmet.  Intellectually, we must assume they are sound and their faculties are still intact.  So what actually happens?  The simple answer is, their body can no longer execute the split second commands that their brain demands.

Nostalgia aside, does LaDainian Tomlinson have anything left in the tank?  As a starting running back the answer is no.  However, can he be the difference between you winning and losing your paycheck on the ticket you bought on the Jets to win the AFC East?  You can bet on it!

The Jets are a team that is on the rise but they’ve got those pesky Patriots always standing in their way.  They continue to retool a team that was about as good as it has been in years but if they get Tomlinson, they add a whole new dimension to a team that led the NFL in rushing last year.  Tomlinson can not only spell rookie sensation Shonn Greene but more importantly allows Mark Sanchez a safety valve coming out of the backfield as Tomlinson is a superb route runner and still has the soft hands to catch anything thrown his way.

Defenses around the NFL will have to take note and the AFC East crown may just change hands if Tomlinson decides green and white are now his favorite colors.

Ladanian Tomlinson  is the latest example of pure natural talent and God given ability succumbing to the merciless hand of Father Time.  When superstars are in their prime they have no equal.  Superlatives abound and the hero worship of both the fans and the media spirals so out of control it becomes commonplace to rank the newest big thing as the best of his generation if not among the greatest who ever played the game.

The coronation isn’t complete until the media begins reporting how smart, savvy, funny, generous, kind or any other adjective that further adds to the mystique.  Naturally this creates the illusion that this man is not only gifted athletically but spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and there’s a better than even money chance he calls his mother every day.

Only a few stand the test of time after the cheers have faded and their face no longer routinely graces the covers of magazines and newspapers.  Running backs like Jim Brown, Walter “Sweetness” Payton, Barry Sanders, Emmit Smith and the reviled but nonetheless supremely talented O.J. Simpson are universally acknowledged to be in anyone’s top ten list.

Today, many would say no but once his shadow fades and he hangs up his cleats for good, only then will we really know where Tomlinson sits among the pantheon of the greatest ever to juke, jive and steamroll their way into the endzones of the NFL and the hearts of football fans everywhere.  Until then, did you hear that Adrian Peterson reads a book everyday and donates his entire paycheck to the United Way?

Vikings fans who want LT on board will be happy to see NFLshop.com is leaning their way. The site already is selling LT jerseys with a yet-to-be-determined number. For a mere $80 bucks, you can get one. What’s unclear is whether the NFL site is jumping the gun or breaking news.

LT: Minnesota Down, Heading To NY & The Jets

L_Tomlinson_1.jpg

As it turns out, L.T. could be returning to the Meadowlands.

Not the original L.T., who played for the Giants.  The new L.T., the nine-year veteran tailback and 2006 NFL MVP who is perched at eighth place on the all-time rushing list.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Tomlinson is scheduled to visit the Jets on Friday, if no deal is consummated in Minnesota.   L.T. was last seen leaving Minnesota with a Vikings jersey.

But if the Jets weren’t willing to pay Thomas Jones $5.8 million for 2010, they likely won’t cough up big money for L.T.  (It’s also possible that the Jets had a chance to pay Jones the same two-year, $5 million package he received from the Chiefs; if they opted not to do so, it’s unlikely that they would make a similar offer to Tomlinson.)  Have to love the Jets.

Apart from the money, Tomlinson wouldn’t be overshadowed by any of the team’s other running backs in New York, and he possibly could set himself up to make a bunch of extra cash in the many off-field opportunities that the Big Apple presents.  Think about L.T.’s face all over Times Square?  Will it still be Revis Island or LaDainian Square?  Also, the Jets climbed as far as the Vikings did in 2009 — and there’s every reason to believe they’ll be right in the thick of things in 2010.

And if playing the Chargers is a factor, it’s a wash in either city; both the Jets and the Vikings are next scheduled to play San Diego in 2011.  (Of course, either or both teams could play the Chargers in the 2010 postseason.)

Either way, the Vikings have gotten the first crack at signing L.T. — and the key factors remain price tag and buy-in by L.T. regarding his second-fiddle role to Adrian Peterson.

New York Jets Trade For Cornerback Antonio Cromartie

New York Jets Sign Cornerback Antonio Cromartie Thumbnail image for Cromartie.jpgA lot was made of how the Jets would struggle to upgrade their roster in 2010, with the Final Four Rules seriously restricting their normally-bustling activity on the free-agent market.

Well, in Rex Ryan fashion, New York raised a certain and yelled, “Screw the rules” an hour before the start of free agency.

Jets have acquired on-the-block Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie for a conditional 2011 draft pick — a second- or third-rounder, depending on playing time. And so now Cromartie is paired with Darrelle Revis to form a potentially fearsome pair of corners to patrol the New Meadowlands.

The downside for the Jets is considerable here. Cromartie had grown a reputation inside the Charger organization, from what I’ve heard, as an underachiever who’d declined as a playmaker (though he didn’t yield many big players) and had a problem with authority late in his time in San Diego. He also didn’t play a physical game, which was pretty obvious in the playoffs. Then, there are his legal issues.

The upshot is a corner as physically gifted as any in the game. He fits Rex Ryan’s desire for man-cover corners. He’ll get thrown at, to be sure, with Revis on the other side, and he’s got an 11-interception season in the books. And his presence, combined with Revis, will allow the defensive coaches all kinds of creative leeway in their rush packages.

Hard to argue the Jets didn’t just get better — if Ryan pushes the right buttons, they could be a lot better for this. But there’s significant risk here, too. Should be interesting.