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Two-Minute Grill with LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers running back

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    <img width="273" height="181" alt="JIM BAIRD / Union-Tribune LaDainian Tomlinson had good reason to smile, recording 240 total yards and 3 touchdowns." title="JIM BAIRD / Union-Tribune LaDainian Tomlinson had good reason to smile, recording 240 total yards and 3 touchdowns." src="http://photos.signonsandiego.com/gallery1.5/albums/061029rams/JBchrgRams263857x36.jpg" />

    By Jim Jenkins

    NFL history is filled with great running backs, a list more recently including Jim Brown, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith. Now, fans are witnessing the latest in a chain of gifted ballcarriers, LaDainian Tomlinson. The triple-threat of the San Diego Chargers, who is just past the midway point of his sixth season, has scored 98 touchdowns in 88 games, both as a runner and receiver, including four in last Sunday's 49-41 win over Cincinnati. The league record for least games played to reach 100 touchdowns -- excluding throwing for touchdowns, something Tomlinson has done five times -- is 93, an achievement shared by Brown and Smith. In excerpts from a national conference call, the 5-foot-10, 220-pounder, taken by the Chargers in the first round of the 2001 draft from TCU, talked about his career.

    Q: Aware you've already broken Brown's record for most touchdowns in a five-game (span) -- 15 vs. 14 -- and how much does that mean to you?

    A: For me, it's kind of an unreal situation because when you talk about Jim Brown and what he's meant. (He's) like a heroic figure ... it's just a great accomplishment.

    Q: This the best Chargers team you've played on?

    A: I would say it is for the simple fact that the talent that we have on both sides of the ball is phenomenal. That hasn't been the case since I've been here.

    Q: Jim Brown is pretty much ancient history to most young players. How did you come to appreciate him, and can you share your meeting with him after the Nov. 5 game with Cleveland?

    A: Well, I admire runners because that's what I do, and I think there's an art to it. There are no two runners alike. Every guy has his own style ... some stick out more than others. Jim Brown obviously really stuck out, not only because of his size and strength, but the way he was able to move (through and around defenders) because he's a big guy. It was awesome to see him run. Then, just getting a chance to meet him was probably the most memorable moment I've ever been a part of. He (wished me) continued success. I mentioned I would like to keep in contact, and he agreed.

    Q: Rather pass for a touchdown or score yourself?

    A: I really enjoy throwing a touchdown pass because it's something a running back is not supposed to be able to do. It's always, need to find an open guy and read the defense.

    Q: In essence, the Chargers turned (Eli Manning's reluctance to be drafted by them in 2004) into a trade with the Giants that brought Philip Rivers, Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding. The trade probably wasn't popular at first, but how would you judge it now?

    A: Well, you have to realize Eli didn't want to play in San Diego from the beginning, so as an organization, what do you do? I think it worked out for us better in the long run. I think Philip could end up a better quarterback than Eli.

    Q: You've mentioned Walter Payton was another influence on you. Admire or copy his game?

    A: He was the reason why I wanted to play running back ... I think I was 5 years old. ... (There was) something about him that I was drawn to. Walter was able to do anything asked of him on a football field. I tried to pattern my game the same way.
    TRIVIA TIME

    For the St. Louis Rams in 1999, Marshall Faulk became the second player in NFL history to have at least 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards. Who was the first?

    1. Walter Payton, Chicago Bears.

    2. Terrell Davis, Denver Broncos.

    3. Roger Craig, 49ers.

    4. Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys.

    See answer at bottom
    SOUND BITE

    "Their defense is playing well, but they have some communication issues on offense."

    Denver Broncos receiver Rod Smith On his impression of the Raiders, whom the Broncos have beaten twice despite
    TRIVIA ANSWER

    3. Roger Craig, who in 1985 rushed for 1,050 yards and totaled 1,016 yards in receptions. Faulk rushed for 1,381 yards and had 1,048 yards in receptions for St. Louis in 1999.
     

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