NCTimes: Is L.T. the MVP?

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#GoIrish #Aztecs #SDGulls #Raiders #THFC #RipCity
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA

By: JAY PARIS - Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO ----- OK, Chargers fans, here's the deal: That "L.T., L.T., L.T." chant that ricochets around Qualcomm Stadium for LaDainian Tomlinson is well, passÈ.

Instead, try this one: "MVP, MVP, MVP."

"He deserves it," quarterback Drew Brees said. "I think what he means to this team, not only his production on the field, but the intangible stuff ---- the stuff nobody sees. The leadership, the time that he puts in, the respect that he has from everyman on this team.

"I don't think there is a more complete player in the NFL ---- when it comes to running the football, catching the football, throwing the football. And he's one of the best backs in the league at pass-blocking, if not the best."

But as the Chargers turn the corner toward their final seven games, will the run end with Tomlinson earning the league's most cherished individual trophy? Will he become the first Charger in their 46-year history to be an MVP?

"He's a great player," said Bills coach Mike Mularkey, whose team must try and stop Tomlinson on Sunday. "He'd have to be (considered). Everything he does, it's scary when the ball is in his hands or around it --- throwing it, catching it and obviously running it. He's a fun player to watch when you're not playing him."

But others around the NFL are providing smiles as well. Those in Seattle are promoting running back Shaun Alexander. Carolina loves wide receiver Steve Smith. Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning is in the hunt. Cincinnati is gaga over quarterback Carson Palmer.

Tomlinson, though, needs to take a back seat to none of them.

This year, he's tied an NFL record by scoring in 18 consecutive games. He became the fourth player in league history to score at least two rushing, receiving and passing touchdowns in the same season.

Statistically, Tomlinson's 1,099 total yards from scrimmage is fourth in the NFL. His 835 rushing yards is sixth. His 13 rushing touchdowns are second only to Alexander's 17. He's added 28 catches for 264 yards and two scores.


"He is the best player," Chargers nose tackle Jamal Williams said. "It is rare you find a special player like that who works hard every day. He doesn't talk about me, me, me. He is a team player and I respect him for that."

Tomlinson has too much respect for the game, and the award, to boost his own candidacy. But he admits becoming an MVP would be an extraordinary honor for an extraordinary Charger.

"It would be great," said Tomlinson, a two-time Pro Bowler. "It's something you always dream about. You dream that it would be something you would accomplish when you grow up."

Those raised on Chargers football are aware of its legacy of producing dynamite players: Ron Mix, Lance Alworth, Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner, Kellen Winslow and Junior Seau.

But none of them earned MVP status.

"I think you could make a case that he is as good of a player as there is in football today," coach Marty Schottenheimer said of Tomlinson. "And I say that without any reservation. You talk about a complete player that can do everything."

But the talk that makes Schottenheimer speechless is this: Where would the Chargers be without Tomlinson?

"I won't even entertain that question," Schottenheimer said. "Next question."

There's no question Tomlinson is the Chargers' heart and soul. He's the face of a team which is getting more face time after climbing off the mat the past two years.

"Now we're getting recognized and (some of our) games are in prime time," Brees said. "People see him and he's on the cover of video games. So people start to notice."

Tomlinson said what has set him apart this year is his right arm, not his two feet.

"I think throwing touchdown passes has helped me out this year," said Tomlinson, whose three tosses have resulted in three touchdowns. "People love to see me throw the football."

So let's throw his helmet into the MVP ring.

"Should I be considered? I don't know," the modest Tomlinson said. "A lot of guys should be considered; that is just the way it is. I think a lot of people, off me throwing three touchdowns and doing all the things receiving, people are considering me for doing all those different things."

Tomlinson is different, but in a good way. And wouldn't collecting the NFL's most storied piece of hardware, this side of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, be a most valuable way of acknowledging it?

CHARGERS NOTES ---- OLB Shawne Merriman skipped Thursday's afternoon practice after a migraine in the morning caused a bloody nose and made him sick to his stomach. Merriman said he was fine later in the day and he'll play on Sunday against the Bills. ... Others not working were LBs Steve Foley (abdominal strain) and Ben Leber (foot), LT Roman Oben (foot), TE Ryan Krause (foot) and WR Vincent Jackson (hamstring). All are listed as questionable, with the exception of Krause who is out. Oben and Foley are on the low side of questionable. . C Nick Hardwick suffered no setbacks on his healing ankle from two straight practices and announced himself ready for Sunday. He has missed the past three games. ... The Pro Football Hall of Fame busts of the six Chargers inductees will be on display at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday. One of those so honored, WR Lance Alworth, will have his No. 19 jersey retired. The team is also wearing its collegiate blue throwback jerseys. CB Sammy Davis on Alworth: "I didn't know who he was; I thought he was a quarterback."


Oct 14, 2005
I saw a poll somwhere and they didn't even have LT on the list. But the had Tom Brady! WTF! LT should be one of the top candidates this year. But it looks like he's getting disrespected again.