CAROLINA CRISIS: THIS IS BIGGER THAN YOU By Michael...
Three The Hard Way
And there is no love for an aging running back. After the legs go, the body will crumble. But which one of these three great backs would you place in your backfield: future Hall of-Famer LaDanian Tomlinson, Brian Westbrook, or Thomas Jones?
Let’s start with Brian Westbrook. After eight years of “literally” carrying the load on his shoulders for the Philadelphia Eagles, the load became too heavy this season. As a result, after only 21 rushes and 274 yards, he was sidelined after suffering two possible career ending concussions.
To be truthful, I think Westbrook should proudly hang-up his cleats in the Eagles’ lock room and leave his shoulder pads on the field. Besides, he doesn’t have to prove his toughness to anyone in the league.
He has had a wonderful career in Philadelphia where he gained 5,995 yards.
In his difficult decision on whether to retire or return, Westbrook however must remember the tragic story of former Eagle Andre Waters, whose post concussion syndrome affected his life after football.
Next, there is the eighth overall rusher in the history of the NFL, LaDanian Tomlinson, whose 12,490 yards is only 300 shy of Dallas Cowboy Tony Dorsett.
But after nine years and 2,880 carries, Tomlinson is beginning to slow down. Last season, it was evident that LT had lost his quickness and explosiveness which resulted in him gaining only 730 yards for the Chargers.
Don’t get it twisted, Tomlinson can still play and score some touchdowns in which he holds the all-time NFL record for a single season with 31. And for that reason alone, he will make an excellent addition to some team looking for a veteran running back, either as a starter or as a back-up.
With that said, the best back out of the three, is the 5-foot-10, 210 pound Thomas Jones, 31, who ranks second only to Tomlinson in rushing yards since 2005.
Jones, who also ranks 28th on the NFL career rushing list, 190 yards behind Earl Campbell, had his best season this year by carrying the rock for the New York Jets 331 times for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Last season’s 1402 yards was Jones’ fifth consecutive 1,000 yard season and physically he has the body to still pound in between tackles.
Therefore, hand the ball off to Jones, he still has some running to do.