La Dainian Tomlinson of the New York Jets
Florham Park, NJ
Though still seeking his first Super Bowl ring, the Jets' season-ending loss at Miami could mark the final appearance as an NFL player for LaDainian Tomlinson.
Tomlinson, who will be a free agent in the offseason, seemed a bit more serious about retiring during a radio interview recently.
The future Hall of Famer, who finished this season with a career-low 280 rushing yards in a part-time role, was asked on San Diego's XX 1090 if he's ready to call it quits with his two-year pact with the Jets set to expire.
"I am contemplating retirement," Tomlinson, who inked a two-year, $5.2 million contract with the Jets in March 2010 after entering the free agent market for the first time in his career, told the radio program.
"That's what I told my coaches and told my agent and everybody. That's exactly what it is. This is the first time in my playing career that I've actually honestly thought about this may be it for me. That's kind of where I am right now," he added.
Apart from feeling more comfortable with Jets' philosophy, personnel, Tomlinson joined the Jets believing that the team offered him the best chance to win the elusive Super Bowl championship.
The prospect of capturing a Super Bowl ring may entice the five-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro pick to play a 12th season even as a role player.
But the owner of two rushing titles, in 2006 and '07, may have to take his talent elsewhere in 2012, as the Jets are believed to be gearing towards a youth movement at running back.
"I think hope of a championship," Tomlinson, who turns 33 in June, said during the radio interview. "Looking at a team and being like you know what there's hope there honestly. Beyond that I think at some point nobody wants to retire from football. That's something that we've done since we were little kids but there does become a time where holding on too long is exactly the wrong thing to do for me."
Despite the struggles, Tomlinson managed recorded 42 receptions for 449 yards and two TD as the Jets' third-down back this past season.
In the event Tomlinson, the 2006 league MVP, decides to conclude his impressive playing career, he will retire with 13,684 yards, good from fifth place on the NFL's career rushing list.
He will also place third all-time with his 162 career TD, including a single-season record 31 in 2006.
Tomlinson, a former Texas Christian University standout, was selected fifth overall in the 2001 NFL draft by the Chargers. He spent nine sterling seasons in San Diego.
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