- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Jets released a statement on the retirement of LaDainian Tomlinson, with team officials reflecting on his two years with the team.
OWNER WOODY JOHNSON:
"People and players like LaDainian Tomlinson don’t come around very often, if at all. His humility and work ethic made it clear why he will be remembered as one of the game’s best players. Without question, his next stop will be the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
GM MIKE TANNENBAUM:
"During my time around LaDainian, he never took one day for granted when it came to any aspect of his performance. His commitment drew his teammates to him and elevated everyone that came in contact with him. On the field, he was a dynamic, versatile player who was everything you could ask for in a running back. He could significantly affect the outcome of a game as a ball carrier, but also was superior as a receiver and in pass protection. He had a positive impact on our organization and I am grateful for his time with the New York Jets."
COACH REX RYAN:
"I think right from when LaDainian burst on the scene as a rookie, he had a major impact. Clearly, he’s one of the all-time great, first-ballot Hall-of-Fame backs. This guy was so consistent throughout his career right up until the end. He was a dominant performer. He could play all three downs. He could do it all -- a great receiver out of the backfield, obviously a great runner inside, great runner outside and could pass block. We were fortunate to get him at the end of his career, but he was still outstanding. He still had that great wiggle. (He) almost gained 1,000 yards the first year he came here and he would have had we played him in that last game. However, to his credit, he was like, ‘No, I would like to be rested for the playoffs.’ Then he turned in a great performance in that first playoff game in particular. He was a great guy to have, a tremendous leader, and I feel very fortunate and blessed to have coached him."
RUNNING BACKS COACH ANTHONY LYNN:
"LaDainian Tomlinson is one of the best pros I’ve ever been around. We were all blessed to have him in the National Football League as an ambassador of this League and just to have him in the New York Jets organization. He meant a lot to the younger players that looked up to him. The example that he set for those guys was unbelievable. Yes, he was very, very talented. That’s obvious. He’s a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, but he was highly intelligent and worked extremely hard. Coming out of high school, he didn’t have a lot of scholarship offers. At TCU, he developed as he went on, but his first couple of years at TCU, he wasn’t even a starter. This is a guy that has worked his way into the position that he’s in. Sometimes that gets overlooked because people think he is just so talented. He’s very intelligent and he’s a hard worker before being talented. He’s just a pleasure. The game is going to miss him. It’s going to miss him tremendously."