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Two more milestones approach for LT

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson will try to gain company with two of his boyhood heroes Sunday when the Bolts host the Baltimore Ravens.

    Last week, Tomlinson fell just short of making history in Jacksonville, but that means a big milestone is pretty much inevitable this week. Tomlinson enters Sunday’s game needing just 29 rushing yards to reach 10,000 for his career.

    If he does so, he’ll tie Emmitt Smith as the fourth-fastest player in league history to rush for 10,000 yards. Smith did so in 106 games, and LT is playing in his 106<SUP>th</SUP> game of his career Sunday. Last week, LT said the 10,000-yard mark will be a significant achievement.

    “It would be a big accomplishment obviously,” Tomlinson said. “I think 10,000 yards is usually a benchmark for most running backs in their career. If you have a successful career they say you rushed for 10,000 yards. Obviously that would be a big accomplishment for me.”

    Should LT find the end zone on the ground Sunday, it will mark his 110<SUP>th</SUP> career rushing touchdown. That would move him into a tie with childhood idol Walter Payton for third on the NFL’s all-time list.

    “It’s pretty special,” Tomlinson said. “I wanted to be like (Payton) for so long. Hopefully we can get it done as early as possible.”

    When Tomlinson reaches 10,000 rushing yards for his career, he’ll be either the 22<SUP>nd</SUP> or 23<SUP>rd</SUP> back in NFL history to accomplish the feat. Atlanta’s Warrick Dunn enters Thursday night’s game against the Indianapolis Colts needing only 26 yards to reach the mark.

    Tomlinson acknowledged Wednesday that nothing comes easy against Baltimore’s defense. The Ravens rank second in the NFL against the run, giving up just 77.4 yards per game. They’re allowing an NFL-low 2.8 yards per carry.

    “They’ve still got tremendous talent,” Tomlinson said. “They still make plays. They don’t give up much. We’ve got to find a way to be successful and run the football.”

    Ready to go

    Center Nick Hardwick fully participated in Thursday’s practice and appears to be ready to return to action Sunday. Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner lauded the work his Pro Bowl center has done this week.

    “If he stays on the course he’s on, he’ll be ready to go,” Turner said.

    Hardwick will most likely be listed as probable when the team issues its status report following Friday’s practice.

    The only Charger to miss any of Thursday’s drills was defensive end Luis Castillo, who is out with an ankle injury.

    For the Ravens, Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap (thigh) and Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister (knee) missed a second-straight day of practice. Six others were limited.

    Happy Thanksgiving

    Turner adjusted his team’s practice routine Thursday to give his players an opportunity to spent time with their families. The team wrapped up practice just after 1 p.m. and did not have afternoon meetings.

    The Chargers have practiced in pads on Thursdays throughout the season but were in soft shells Thursday. Turner said that was partially due to the adjusted routine as well as the fact that many coaches back off of the pads later in the season.

    “We’ll mix the pads and the shells,” Turner said. “The shells today gave us a big lift. That was a real good practice today.”

    Step up

    Turner said he challenged several players this week to pick up their games after linebacker and vocal leader Carlos Polk had his season come to an end due to a shoulder injury.

    “Carlos has been a contributor at outside linebacker, inside linebacker plus the emotional things that he brings to our football team,” Turner said. “Somebody’s got to step up.”

    Rookie linebacker Jyles Tucker, who was promoted from the practice squad to fill Polk’s spot on the 53-man roster, will likely fill some of Polk’s rolls in the kicking game.

    “He was very good in the preseason,” Turner said. “He hasn’t played yet. He’s got to step up and go.”

    Polk is currently the Bolts leader with 12 special teams tackles.

    Say what?

    Tomlinson was asked earlier this week if Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis talks as much on the field as it appears he does.

    “Yeah, pretty much,” Tomlinson said with a laugh.

    Tomlinson went on to express his deep respect for Lewis as a player and for what he continues to do on the field. He then went on to explain a little of what Lewis says when he’s in his groove.

    “A lot of times, Ray talks and really it’s not like bad talk, talking crap to you,” Tomlinson said. “It’s, ‘I’m here! You know I’m here! I’ll be here all day! You can’t run my way.’ It’s motivating stuff even for himself. I think he’s motivating himself out there a lot of times.”

    LT said that he enjoys playing along with the future Hall of Famer.

    “It’s always fun to say something back to him just to give him a little, ‘I’m here. I hear what you’re saying,’” Tomlinson said. “I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a lot of that going on.”

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