Bear with me for another "misunderstood Chargers injury" post, but I think Deion Sanders is in line to be socked in the face. His criticism of Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson feels way, way, way out of line. Said Deion, via the AP:
“I have expectations, and when you don’t meet my expectations, you open yourself for us to try to guess,” Sanders said. “Now what’s the problem? You’re a big-time player. And big-time players must play big-time games.”
Sanders also said he thought Tomlinson’s injury would need to warrant a surgery “for him to get a pass on this one.”
Well, he doesn't need surgery, Deion. I guess all Tomlinson can do now is hope to find some kind of meaning in his life now that he has to go on without your precious "pass."
Tomlinson defended himself:
“He’s never been a running back and had a sprained MCL. You tell me what running back has played with a sprained MCL and been effective. You might go out there and try to limp around and play, but it’s not going to happen. I don’t know how information gets passed on, but until you talk to the source of the problem, what’s going on with me, I think it’s ridiculous when people make comments like that.”
“I think the funny thing to me is, all the things I’ve played with through my career and haven’t missed a game, now all of a sudden I’m not tough? You think I just wanted to sit on the sideline and not go, in the championship game? You think, me? Come on, man, that’s ridiculous.”
Ridiculous ... that's a good word for it. And it's especially weird coming from Deion, because he's always been so player-friendly as a broadcaster. Deion could go do an interview with Pacman Jones, and at the end, he'd have you feeling like Pacman's a noble, misunderstood gentleman who simply has a dream to help all of America's strippers pay their way through law school.
I've traditionally been one of Deion's biggest fans, too. I like the work he does in the studio, and I'm not sure if I've ever seen a better NFL player than Deion Sanders. Tomlinson owes him a punch in the face, though.
It also doesn't help Tomlinson's case that Philip Rivers is getting so much love for playing Sunday without, I believe, an ACL, a pancreas, either elbow, toenails on his left foot, and absolutely no hair in his right nostril. But they're different positions, different injuries, and each player had to do different things with them. You can't compare the two.
I'll only accept criticisms of LaDainian Tomlinson's toughness if you're either 1) a licensed medical practitioner who examined Tomlinson's knee during the game, or 2) a running back who's played with the exact same MCL injury. If your only qualification is 3) being Deion Sanders, then you can stuff it, mister.
The next time LaDainian gets Deion on his couch, he should hold a pillow over his face for about 10 minutes.
• L.T. fires back at Neon Deion's criticisms / MSNBC
• Tomlinson's knee won't need surgery / San Diego Union Tribune