We’ve previously predicted that, once running back LaDainian Tomlinson severs all ties with the Jets, his interview will be more compelling than a Jim Irsay tweet.
But it appears that, instead of one epic sit-down meltdown, L.T. will bleed out the details in a series of engagements and appearances.
Over the weekend, Tomlinson touched on some of the issues during a guest spot on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown. For the latest episode of Showtime’s Inside the NFL (via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News), L.T. pulls no punches.
As to the relationship between quarterback Mark Sanchez and receiver Santonio Holmes, Tomlinson said, “It is as bad as I’ve ever been around, honestly. You know it was at the point where I think the players could no longer do anything about it. There was nothing that the players could do. So when it gets to that point there are certain changes that need to happen. Can it be fixed? . . . I think absolutely it can be. But they’re going to have to make some tough decisions.”
The tough decisions may include whether to keep both men on the same team.
“I would really have to sit down with them and see if they can co-exist,” Tomlinson said. “I mean that is a decision that I really have to make. And if I really feel like they can’t, then you have to make a move. . . . There are some things that obviously [Holmes] needs to work on as far as being a leader.”
Tomlinson previously criticized Holmes for his behavior during a Week 17 loss to the Dolphins. “I’ll tell you what, it’s tough for guys to follow a captain that kind of behaves in that manner,” Tomlinson said at the time. “When you’re a captain, guys are looking at you, you’ve got to lead by example. You’ve got to play your tail off until the last play. And when that don’t happen, you have guys looking at you in a way that captains shouldn’t be looked at.”
The Jets owe Holmes $7.75 million in guaranteed salary for 2012. If he’s on the roster in March 2012, another $7.5 million in base salary becomes guaranteed in 2013.
Tomlinson thinks the front office shouldn’t be surprised by the situation. “They created this,” Tomlinson said. “This is the type of football team that they wanted. Mike Tannenbaum [and] Rex Ryan are both brash, in-your-face type of style, say whatever you want, just get it done on the field. And then it leads to other things [like] guys are calling each other out and saying I’m not getting the ball or whatever it may be.”
The reference to “not getting the ball” surely means that Holmes didn’t think he was getting enough looks from Sanchez, a dynamic about which we reported during the season. Near the end of the season, we reported that the Jets would privately consider alternatives to Sanchez.
So it’s unclear whether Holmes will go or Sanchez will go. For now, the Jets have said that both men will stay.
Of course, that’s the same thing they said about former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.