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San Diego Chargers: My Letter To New York Jets' LaDainian Tomlinson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 08:  LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the New York Jets celebrates as he runs off the field after the Jets won 17-16 against the Indianapolis Colts during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Heneli IongiAnalyst IJanuary 17, 2011

Dear LaDainian Tomlinson,

Hey there Mr. Tomlinson.  I'd like to take this time to say congratulations on your trip back to the AFC Championship Game.  This must be a exciting time in your career as you seek your first Super Bowl ring.  I do however notice that you've change a bit as a football player from San Diego to your present team, the New York Jets.

The change that bothers me the most ever since you left San Diego is your leadership.  You're one of the most vocal leaders with the Jets.  You hype up your team before the game, rallying them to be ready for battle.  When your team is down against the Lions and the Texans, you were right there assuring Mark Sanchez he'll be fine in the huddle. 

My question is Mr. Tomlinson, why weren't you that vocal in San Diego?  You were without a doubt the leader of that team since the day you got drafted to a 1-15 team that had nothing.  You were the leader that ran for multiple records.  You were a leader but yet, you were quiet.  You were humble.  You were just... Mr. Nice Guy.  

The Chargers went to bat for you when you were at your best.  They went to bat for you when you broke multiple records.  They helped you to two NFL rushing titles in consecutive years.  Those players, Gates, Rivers, Jackson, Manumaleuna, Neal, all of them, went to bat for you.  They spoke for you.  They defended you.  All of us Charger fans defended you even against our own GM A.J. Smith. 

Where were you to defend them the way you defend your now beloved Jets?

I'm not a sour fan that you're gone and you've succeeded with the Jets.  I knew you'd succeed with the Jets.  Why couldn't you have supported the Chargers more when they were down?  Why couldn't you cheer on your Chargers when you played against the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game instead of sitting on the bench just wallowing in your own misery?  Why did you steep your head low with your helmet on last season after losing a close game against the Jets?  Why didn't you held your head high knowing you left everything on that field?  

Or maybe you didn't leave everything on that field.

Maybe if you were just more vocal, maybe the young Philip Rivers would have fought harder than what he already was doing on a bad knee against the Patriots in 2007.  Maybe if you were as vocal with the Chargers, you would've retired with the Chargers after a couple more years and become more than a legend, but to the status that John Elway is to his beloved Denver Broncos.

Instead, now you're with the Jets, being a vocal leader on a team very similar to that of the 2006 and 2007 Chargers team.   

You speak your mind out more now with the Jets.  Maybe if you spoke your mind out with the Chargers and be that leader you are now with the Jets, you probably would have won a Super Bowl or two by now on Charger teams from 2001-2007 built around you.

Thank you for your time Mr. Tomlinson as I hope you succeed in winning your Super Bowl as I now look forward to our very vocal leader Philip Rivers, leading us to our first Super Bowl victory.  That's something that I wish you would've done, instead I'll go bat for my QB that is batting for not only me but for everyone in San Diego still waiting for their Super Bowl title.

P.S. I see that knee is holding up but yet I wonder, was it holding up before or after you went to New York?

Your former fan,

Heneli Iongi

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