It's one thing when a rookie QB rips the "corrupt" atmosphere in the locker room, but quite another when a future Hall of Famer goes on national TV and does the same.
That's what LaDainian Tomlinson did. Here are the excerpts of his interview with Showtime's "Inside the NFL," released late Wednesday by the network. (The interview airs Wednesday at 9 p.m.)
Q: Did the locker-room drama get out of hand?
Tomlinson: It got out of hand toward the end of the season. That is why it got out in the media. This is something that happened (in the) third or fourth week of the season, that was going on, and nobody knew about it because the players kept it under wraps. Until we went on that losing streak and guys started to speak up and speak out about certain things.
Q: Mark Sanchez has been the lightening rod. A lot of players don't think he should be. Santonio Holmes was taken out of the game for basically stirring it up in the huddle. How bad was it and can it be fixed for those two?
Tomlinson: It is as bad as I've ever been around, honestly. And I've been around some locker rooms and quarterback-receiver situations and what-not, but it was as bad as I've been around. 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.
Q: In terms of getting rid of some players?
Tomlinson: Guys think about this. They [the organization] created this. This is the type of football team that they wanted. Mike Tannenbaum, 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, as guys are calling each other out and saying, "I'm not getting the ball" or whatever it may be.
Q: On whether or not Sanchez can overcome the drama:
Tomlinson: I think he can overcome it. I think, the guy that said, that came at him, I don't know who it was that said Sanchez was lazy, but I disagree with that. The guy is not lazy, guys. He is not a lazy guy. He puts in the time after practice in the film room. He can get it done. He just has to have pieces around him to help him get it done.
Q: On whether or not Sanchez is pampered:
Tomlinson: Yes he is, I would say a bit pampered because he has no competition. He has no real threat to say this guy may take my job.
Q: On whether or not Tomlinson would bring both Sanchez and Holmes back:
Tomlinson: Whew, that is a tough one. I would really have to sit down with them and see if they can co-exist, honestly. 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.
Q: On decision to change offense in off-season to a passing game with a wide-open offense:
Tomlinson: If it ain't broke, don’t fix it. So a team that was coming off two straight AFC Championship Games relied heavily on the run. My opinion now, why would you just totally switch up your identity at that point?
Q: On brash, in-your-face style of the Jets:
Tomlinson: I think it can be effective because there are certain guys that you have to have on your team if you are going to be that way. You know it. If you are going to be that way you better have certain types. You better have some bad guys on your team that just don't care about certain things, that speak up and say certain things. But if you're not going to be that team, if you don't have that personnel for that team, you can't do it. You can't be that team.
Q: On Rex’s public bold predictions and statements for Jets and their opponents:
Tomlinson: I would prefer him not to say it as much as he did. I don't mind every now and again saying we are going to win a championship. Maybe at the beginning of the year just saying, "Hey, our goal is to win a championship." But at the same time, every week if you are calling out a team on certain things, I think it puts a little extra on your team. Guys really want to go out there and say, "Let's shut this guy up. Let's shut these Jets up, just end their season."
I think that adds to that when Rex speaks up like that because, you know, everybody doesn't like that type of style, and they're not supposed to. But at the same time there are certain things that you can do to not have it come off like that.