Florham Park, N.J.– It appears L.T. has officially proven that he still has plenty of talent left in the tank. The question now becomes, can he continue this type of play all season long?
L.T. has surprised just about everyone with his rejuvenated play and today he earned some solid recognition of just how good he has been. Today it was announced that L.T. was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week, after his 19 carries for 133 yards and two TDs against Buffalo on Sunday.
L.T. has been steadily proving doubters wrong since the first game of the season, but now after four straight games where he has looked exceptional everyone seems to be waving the white flag admitting they were wrong and L.T. is obviously not quite done yet.
One person who isn’t shocked at all by how things have unfolded is L.T. himself. A writer asked L.T., that since he has been one of the biggest surprises around the league so far, if anything about his play has surprised him, L.T. took a second and paused only to say, “I think you know I’m going to say no to right? (Smiling) No not at all, I mean things are going great, it’s a great start to the season, but it’s only the first quarter. This is a long journey that we have and I expect to keep this up.”
Often times once an athlete, in any team sport, spends enough time and goes through enough different things in one location people often say that a change of scenery can make a huge difference for a player and that’s exactly the situation L.T. finds himself in.
L.T. said, “Yeah, I don’t think there’s any question. It was time, it was obviously time. I needed a new challenge and so, you know, I think this was the best move for me.”
It doesn’t hurt that he went to a stacked offensive team that had a spot to use him exactly as God intended. And he knows this, he is constantly giving credit to his teammates and expressing his gratitude to them and the coaching staff for believing in him.
Everyone knows what L.T. is capable of doing physically on the football field, but even if his already impressive numbers continue to climb his contribution to this team goes way beyond what any numbers could calculate.
Rex Ryan was asked about how much of an impact L.T.’s unselfishness (in willing to share or even take less snaps) and leadership has on the rest of the team and Ryan said, “That’s a great point. I never thought about it. All we are is about the team. Our guys buy in. All you have to do is watch how Braylon Edwards blocks and you know the commitment we have for each other. It is hard to argue. If L.T. is willing to do that (share carries), how can you argue? This guy is a first ballot hall of famer. Maybe some of these other guys can be looked at in that light, but I don’t know. There are very few LaDainian Tomlinsons out there. You see the way he is. He gets as excited for Shonn (Greene) as he does for himself when Shonn’s making a big play for us. He’s just a great teammate. I know one thing he’s lifted not just the offense, but the defense as well. He’s one of those rare players who has that type of gift.”
If your wondering how L.T. could lift the defense, don’t worry Ryan had an answer for that. Ryan said, “They’re inspired by watching him play. It’s hard not to be. He came in and spoke to the defense one day. He spoke to the offense and I looked at him and said, ‘You ready to go down the hallway’ and he goes, ‘Yep’ and went right down the hallway and gave the same speech to the defense. It was powerful listening to a guy that’s worked his entire career and came here, dedicated himself to his teammates and he’s chasing the same thing everyone else is. It was great. It was from the heart and it really meant something to everybody.”
From the heart, that’s the way L.T. does everything, whether your talking about playing football, commanding respect from players and not just for how good he can run a football, but because of the type of person he is first and foremost.
L.T. talked about the speech that Ryan mentioned and explained what he said. “It was Vince Lombardi’s, ‘What it takes to be number one’ (http://www.vincelombardi.com/number-one.html), this is something that I have hanging in my house. You know I just took quotes from what he thought it took to be number one and obviously we all know what a great coach Vince Lombardi was.” L.T. said, “But for me it was about, we always talk about, you heard Rex and the guys talk about winning the championship. That’s our main goal and so for me, there was some profound things that Vince Lombardi talked about if you want to be number one. So that was it, I stood up in front of the guys and said ‘guys if we talk about being number one, but we hear our coach talk about some of these things. This is something Vince Lombardi talked about years ago. So if we are going to be number one these are the things it’s going to take.”
Vince Lombardi is a proven winner, one of the most respected coaches in the history of sports, so he’s probably a pretty good guy to take some lessons from on what it takes to be the best.
Meanwhile L.T. is proving more and more each day that he is the type of person, not just football player, that can inspire teammates and is always working hard to be number one. Not just for him, but for his teammates.
L.T. also explained what makes a difference between a great football player and a great teammate saying, “It is a difference, because (being a) great football players sometimes (means) you’re selfish, meaning it’s all about me. ‘How many numbers can I put up? What about me? I’m not getting attention.’ Great football players have a tendency to be like that, where great teammates, it’s all about the team first. You really don’t care at the end of the day who has the numbers. It’s all about the win and what you can do to help your team win. In my opinion, that’s what a great teammate is about.”
All valid points L.T., but clearly he is proving there are exceptions to every rule. Just because your a great football player doesn’t mean you can’t be a great teammate as well, and vice versa.
There are very few people that prove that one can can be both a great player and a great teammate at the same time, but L.T. is a living example of this fact and he continues to show it day in and day out.