Sick Tomlinson overcomes 'huge obstacle'

October, 23, 2011
10/23/11
7:58
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Physically, LaDainian Tomlinson felt awful. Emotionally, he couldn't have felt better.

Tomlinson, suffering from flu-like symptoms, missed most of the second half Sunday. After the game, a 27-21 Jets win, he still was hurting as he talked with reporters. He looked like he wanted to be home, under the covers, but he stuck around to discuss his momentous day.

The future Hall of Fame faced the Chargers for the first time since they released him after the 2009 season. Tomlinson made his first start of the season, a ceremonial gesture by Rex Ryan. He didn't have a monster game, but it was a sweet win, beating his old team.

"It's a great feeling," he said. "Officially, I'm closed with that chapter and ready to move on, just because I was able to face them -- and winning certainly helps."

Tomlinson, nearly two years removed from the Chargers, said he needed closure. It wasn't a pretty divorce; divorces rarely are.

"The closure was facing them," he said. "It was kind of like some huge obstacle out there. To finally face that, and overcome it, and get a win, and send them on a long flight home ... it was great."

Tomlinson said he got sick around 4 a.m. He tried to play as long as he could (he played in 20 of 32 snaps in the first half), but he didn't have it in him to go the whole way. He took IVs in the locker room.

"It looked like a NASCAR coming in," said Ryan, describing Tomlinson's get-well pit stops in the locker room. "He was getting four tires and gas and everything else. You had everybody in the world working on him."

Tomlinson finished with five rushes for 14 yards, and he added three receptions for 37 yards.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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