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Tomlinson is rested, willing and able

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spt/football/nfl/stories/082105dnspogosselin.240e929.html">Dallas Morning News</a>

    Only six running backs rushed for more yards than San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson last season. Only three caught more passes and only one scored more touchdowns.

    His season was special in the eyes of the NFL, which selected Tomlinson to start in the Pro Bowl. But it wasn't special to Tomlinson.

    "It was a very average year for me," Tomlinson said. "I was playing on one leg."

    Tomlinson should have made the Pro Bowl in 2003 but didn't. He became the second back in NFL history to catch 100 passes in a season, and his 2,370 yards from scrimmage were second most in NFL history. But the Chargers went 4-12, so Tomlinson's efforts went unnoticed.

    The team failure devastated Tomlinson

    "I started working out right after the season," he said. "I was so disappointed in that 4-12 that I vowed it would never happen again. I would do everything in my power not to lose 12 games again."

    So Tomlinson began his workouts in February – and doubled up on those workouts. He'd work out in the morning at the team facility and again off site later in the day.

    "I overworked myself," he said. "I never gave my body time to heal from the previous season. The off-season, training camp, the start of the season ... my body was worn down. I was an injury waiting to happen."

    And it did. Tomlinson suffered a groin injury in the third week of the season against Cle- veland, and he was never the same the rest of the year.

    "I was 60 percent in the middle of the season," Tomlinson said. "I could see the hole and get through it – but I couldn't get through it as fast as I usually do. I just didn't have the burst to go the distance."

    During a seven-game stretch from mid-October until December, his longest run was only 16 yards. He had games of 17 carries for 47 yards against Carolina, 17 carries for 36 yards against New Orleans and 21 carries for 46 yards against Kansas City. It was all very un-Tomlinson-like.

    Tomlinson should have taken a week or two off to rest his groin, but he continued to play on. He wasn't going to let a 4-12 season happen again under his watch.

    "I sacrificed for my teammates," said Tomlinson, a two-time NCAA rushing champion at TCU. "I knew if I was in the game, I'd attract attention. People would have to pay attention to me. That might leave Antonio Gates open. That might leave our receivers open. It would give our passing game more breathing room. That was my objective."

    Tomlinson limped through the season with 1,335 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns and 53 receptions – and the Chargers reversed their 4-12 season of 2003, finishing 12-4 in 2004.

    Tomlinson learned his lesson from the previous off-season. He cut back on his workouts. He gave his body time to heal. Now his legs are fresh. His burst is back. He's ready to go.

    So are the defending AFC West champions. A healthy Tomlinson makes the Chargers the favorites to repeat.
     

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