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The Jets Have Their Own LT

The Jets have signed running back LaDainian Tomlinson to a two-year contract, adding an aging star to an offense that ranked No. 1 in rushing last season.

Tomlinson’s agent, Tom Condon, confirmed the deal Sunday night.

LaDainian Tomlinson acknowledged the crowd at Qualcomm Stadium in  November.

The Jets have signed running back LaDainian Tomlinson to a two-year contract, adding an aging star to an offense that ranked No. 1 in rushing last season.

Tomlinson’s agent, Tom Condon, confirmed the deal Sunday night.

“He wanted to go a team that he thought had a chance to compete for the championship,” Condon told the AP. “He wanted to go somewhere where he had a chance to have a significant role, and so with the Jets he also was going to be very familiar with the offensive system.”

The Jets reached the AFC championship game last season, eliminating Tomlinson and the Chargers along the way.

Tomlinson spent Friday with the Jets, capping it with dinner with coach Rex Ryan, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and other team officials.

The 2006 NFL MVP was cut last month by San Diego. He chose New York over Minnesota after visiting the Vikings on Thursday.  Even after leaving Minnesota with a jerey under his arm, he chose the bright lights of Broadway.  More like the swamps of the Meadowlands.

The Jets went after Tomlinson hard even though he turns 31 in June and is coming off his least productive season.

Tomlinson ran for 730 yards and 3.3 per carry. He scored 12 touchdowns.  He’s expected to back up Shonn Greene, who became the starter after leading-rusher Thomas Jones was released last week.  Tomlinson ranks eighth on the NFL’s career rushing list with 12,490 yards.

LT and Jets Close To Signing, But Not Close Enough

LaDainian Tomlinson, the sixth-leading rusher in NFL history, is talking to the New York Jets about the future after nothing came of his talks with the Vikings.

What happens to running backs when they turn 30?  That’s a rhetorical question if there ever was one but do their skills erode to such a degree that they are no longer serviceable?  Was there a game, a quarter, or even a play that stole their magic and turned them from a god of the gridiron into a mere mortal?

LaDainian TomlinsonPhysically, they look the same.  The number on their jersey hasn’t changed nor does a red cross mysteriously materialize on their helmet.  Intellectually, we must assume they are sound and their faculties are still intact.  So what actually happens?  The simple answer is, their body can no longer execute the split second commands that their brain demands.

Nostalgia aside, does LaDainian Tomlinson have anything left in the tank?  As a starting running back the answer is no.  However, can he be the difference between you winning and losing your paycheck on the ticket you bought on the Jets to win the AFC East?  You can bet on it!

The Jets are a team that is on the rise but they’ve got those pesky Patriots always standing in their way.  They continue to retool a team that was about as good as it has been in years but if they get Tomlinson, they add a whole new dimension to a team that led the NFL in rushing last year.  Tomlinson can not only spell rookie sensation Shonn Greene but more importantly allows Mark Sanchez a safety valve coming out of the backfield as Tomlinson is a superb route runner and still has the soft hands to catch anything thrown his way.

Defenses around the NFL will have to take note and the AFC East crown may just change hands if Tomlinson decides green and white are now his favorite colors.

Ladanian Tomlinson  is the latest example of pure natural talent and God given ability succumbing to the merciless hand of Father Time.  When superstars are in their prime they have no equal.  Superlatives abound and the hero worship of both the fans and the media spirals so out of control it becomes commonplace to rank the newest big thing as the best of his generation if not among the greatest who ever played the game.

The coronation isn’t complete until the media begins reporting how smart, savvy, funny, generous, kind or any other adjective that further adds to the mystique.  Naturally this creates the illusion that this man is not only gifted athletically but spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and there’s a better than even money chance he calls his mother every day.

Only a few stand the test of time after the cheers have faded and their face no longer routinely graces the covers of magazines and newspapers.  Running backs like Jim Brown, Walter “Sweetness” Payton, Barry Sanders, Emmit Smith and the reviled but nonetheless supremely talented O.J. Simpson are universally acknowledged to be in anyone’s top ten list.

Today, many would say no but once his shadow fades and he hangs up his cleats for good, only then will we really know where Tomlinson sits among the pantheon of the greatest ever to juke, jive and steamroll their way into the endzones of the NFL and the hearts of football fans everywhere.  Until then, did you hear that Adrian Peterson reads a book everyday and donates his entire paycheck to the United Way?

Vikings fans who want LT on board will be happy to see NFLshop.com is leaning their way. The site already is selling LT jerseys with a yet-to-be-determined number. For a mere $80 bucks, you can get one. What’s unclear is whether the NFL site is jumping the gun or breaking news.

LT: Minnesota Down, Heading To NY & The Jets

L_Tomlinson_1.jpg

As it turns out, L.T. could be returning to the Meadowlands.

Not the original L.T., who played for the Giants.  The new L.T., the nine-year veteran tailback and 2006 NFL MVP who is perched at eighth place on the all-time rushing list.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Tomlinson is scheduled to visit the Jets on Friday, if no deal is consummated in Minnesota.   L.T. was last seen leaving Minnesota with a Vikings jersey.

But if the Jets weren’t willing to pay Thomas Jones $5.8 million for 2010, they likely won’t cough up big money for L.T.  (It’s also possible that the Jets had a chance to pay Jones the same two-year, $5 million package he received from the Chiefs; if they opted not to do so, it’s unlikely that they would make a similar offer to Tomlinson.)  Have to love the Jets.

Apart from the money, Tomlinson wouldn’t be overshadowed by any of the team’s other running backs in New York, and he possibly could set himself up to make a bunch of extra cash in the many off-field opportunities that the Big Apple presents.  Think about L.T.’s face all over Times Square?  Will it still be Revis Island or LaDainian Square?  Also, the Jets climbed as far as the Vikings did in 2009 — and there’s every reason to believe they’ll be right in the thick of things in 2010.

And if playing the Chargers is a factor, it’s a wash in either city; both the Jets and the Vikings are next scheduled to play San Diego in 2011.  (Of course, either or both teams could play the Chargers in the 2010 postseason.)

Either way, the Vikings have gotten the first crack at signing L.T. — and the key factors remain price tag and buy-in by L.T. regarding his second-fiddle role to Adrian Peterson.

New York Jets Trade For Cornerback Antonio Cromartie

New York Jets Sign Cornerback Antonio Cromartie Thumbnail image for Cromartie.jpgA lot was made of how the Jets would struggle to upgrade their roster in 2010, with the Final Four Rules seriously restricting their normally-bustling activity on the free-agent market.

Well, in Rex Ryan fashion, New York raised a certain and yelled, “Screw the rules” an hour before the start of free agency.

Jets have acquired on-the-block Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie for a conditional 2011 draft pick — a second- or third-rounder, depending on playing time. And so now Cromartie is paired with Darrelle Revis to form a potentially fearsome pair of corners to patrol the New Meadowlands.

The downside for the Jets is considerable here. Cromartie had grown a reputation inside the Charger organization, from what I’ve heard, as an underachiever who’d declined as a playmaker (though he didn’t yield many big players) and had a problem with authority late in his time in San Diego. He also didn’t play a physical game, which was pretty obvious in the playoffs. Then, there are his legal issues.

The upshot is a corner as physically gifted as any in the game. He fits Rex Ryan’s desire for man-cover corners. He’ll get thrown at, to be sure, with Revis on the other side, and he’s got an 11-interception season in the books. And his presence, combined with Revis, will allow the defensive coaches all kinds of creative leeway in their rush packages.

Hard to argue the Jets didn’t just get better — if Ryan pushes the right buttons, they could be a lot better for this. But there’s significant risk here, too. Should be interesting.

AFC Divisional Round Preview: New York Jets at San Diego Chargers

If the Jets backed into the playoffs then the Chargers made a dead out sprint into the postseason, running the table after their 34-23 loss to Denver back on Oct. 19. This may be the ugly duckling of the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs with the underwhelming Jets headed into San Diego as nine-point underdogs. However, the AFC Championship Game matchup will not be settled until the Jets and Chargers tangle at 4:40 p.m.   in Qualcomm Stadium.

Rookie coach Rex Ryan and rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez were gift wrapped a trip to the playoffs after the Colts and Bengals laid down in the final two weeks of the season. However, there was no laying down last week when the Jets defeated the Bengals, 24-14, on the road in the Wild Card round. The win impressed a lot of people, including the fans who have been skeptical if the team would even make t to the playoffs.   Bookmakers moved the longshot Jets from 45-1 to win the Super Bowl to 14-1 after just one round.  The Jets defense and running games proved to odds makers that the Jets could be contenders, if they wanted to.

Sanchez is returning home to Southern California where he made a name for himself in his one year starting for the USC Trojans. He is garnering a lot of attention as the Jets make another stride this season, but the real reason the Jets are still playing football this late into January is their defense and their ability to run the ball.  So Sanchez will really have to prove himself in his home state that he can really lead the Jets to victory and not just Thomas Jones or Shonn Greene.

*Jan 09 - 00:05*

The old formula for success in the NFL, running the ball and playing defense, has been lost by most teams but the Jets are the team in the playoffs with the best total defense and best rushing attack (172 yards per game). Of course, there is a reason the Jets are nine-point underdogs and the No. 5 seed. They are second to last in the league in passing but they are not the only one-dimensional team in this game. The Chargers rank second to last in running the ball and they will lean heavily on the arm of Philip Rivers in these playoffs.  LT has not been himself over the past 2-3 years.  The Jets defense has been spectacular against the run so expect LT to make little impact on Saturday.

It’s clear what the Chargers will be trying to do — pass the ball — and what the Jets will be trying to do — rush the ball. If the game comes down to that, and it very likely could, the Jets could actually even the playing field a little bit.  Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis has been the definition of a shutdown corner this year. Let’s not get into the fact he was snubbed for the Defensive Player of the Year.  He will likely get the task of shutting down Vincent Jackson much like he shut down Chad Ochocinco last week. That could open things up for tight end Antonio Gates and Malcolm Floyd. Gates surpassed 1,000 yards receiving this year and Floyd was third on the team with 776 receiving yards.  So the Jets secondary will be very busy in both man to man and zone defense.

Add in Darren Sproles (45 receptions for 497 yards) and LaDainian Tomlinson (20 receptions for 154 yards) and Rivers should have plenty of options, even against the league’s best pass defense. For the Jets, the responsibility on offense will be shared too. Thomas Jones is a major impact player in this game for the Jets. He rushed for over 1,400 yards this season. Shonn Greene came on strong late in the season and in the Cincinnati win and Leon Washington (when playing) and Brad Smith are dangerous out of the wildcat package.  Remember, Brad Smith can play QB, TE, WR, and whatever else Brian Shottenheimer has planned.

From a wagering standpoint, getting points in this game is ideal. The Chargers have strung together 11 consecutive wins to close out the regular season but they were involved in countless nail biters including a one-point win at the Giants and three-point wins over the Redskins, Bengals and Cowboys.  The Jets have won their last 3 games and against top teams.  It might have been against second stringers in some cases, but the Jets did not back down in each game.  It is oging to be a tight game.  Maybe fate will come to the Jets and give Jets fans what they have wanted for the past 40 years, an AFC Championship game at home.  But for the last game, it will truly be Jets Stadium…….if it happens.

Happy New Year With A Playoff Game

Happy new Year to everyone and I can not believe it is 2010 already.  This is nothing like the movie said it would be.  OK, bad joke.  But at least the Jets finished the season strong and made their way into the playoffs.  I will get to that in a bit.  I know it has been over a month since I have written or updated anything.  Work has kept me busy and some nights I want to come on the computer and put some things up but just no energy too.  I made one of my resolutions to do some more for myself and make more people smile.  Some have said they look forward to my posts and I thank you.  Knowing there is even one other person that reads and smiles from this makes me excited to do it.  I had to say something about this being the final game in Giants Stadium, forever

The 501st game has been played tonight in Giants Stadium, and it was the Jets.  The last team to get a win in Giants Stadium, was the Jets.  The last fans to see the inside of Giants Stadium are the Jets fans.  Now if that is not an example of irony I do not know what is.  Many fans will not only take away memories of the games, but from tailgating.  Friendships have been forged, relationahsips that have turned into marriages, and even the players have shared some memories in the parking lot.  Some fans we talked to are happy to see the stadium go as it was Giants Stadium.  Others we sad because it was more than the stadium, but the people they had their seats around who made the games a memory for them.  The diverse fan base has so many different opinions it is hard for fans to truly come together, unless the Jets are winning.  Some are glad to move to the new stadium, some are going kicking and screaming, some have caved in & fell like there is no other choice, and others will no longer give the Jets their money.

As we always do, Anthony and I visited Sal & Carmine’s tailgate.  Spent some time, took some shots and we moved on to Erik Manassey’s Tweet up.  Erik runs the Jets Twit blog.website.  Erik provides a great amount of Jets news for the Gang Green faithful.  Spent some time and managed to get Erik’s input regarding social media and the PSL’s.  Great bunch of guys there and was worth the cold walk.  After Erik and the www.jetsblog.com guys, we made the long cold walk to Don La Greca an the 1050 ESPN booth outside Gate D.  Don touched on a couple who have been such dedicated Jets fans that whenever they came to the games, they would stop by Don and Greg Buttle booth and give them food.  But due to the unaffordable PSL’s for the couple, they will no longer be attending Jets games.  Don grew up in Hawthorne, NJ and has been a very avid Giants fan.  He would attend games with his father before getting into broadcasting.  Don recounted many fond memories both as a fan and behind the microphone.   I am sure the more memories you have, the more you will miss the stadium.

Being there yesterday let me know how I really miss going to the games with my father.  The Sunday morning ritual of roaming the halls in thermal underwear (long john’s) finding other layers for the cold games.  Driving from Parsippany to the stadium.  Driving in the traffic, getting to the game about an hour before kick off.  We never did any tailgating, just showed up to the games.  By the time we got to our seats, we would be talking about who would win and lose, and why.  My dad also brought along our binoculars & small transistor radio so we could get the play by play and other news.  Back before the digital age, we actually brought small radios to the game to listen to reports.  Those were the days when Marty Glickman was calling the action.   Mainly listened to the speaker, never used the ear bud.  I would always be at the souvenir stand deciding what pennant I wanted next.  I wanted to collect every team.  Never did get that San Diego Chargers one too.  If the game was not going the Jets way, dad would say let’s go even before the end of the game.  I rememebr a few two minute warnings watching the game from the top of the stairs, at another section.  Have a few other stories I would like to share.  I always seem to tear up when I think of those memories.  Guess they mean more to me than I thought.

Have to get a few other things done,  Will have more pictures and videos up soon.  For now, enjoy these and I will be back tomorrow.

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