The Shutdown Eleven counts down a list of eleven NFL-related things, in order of the editor's preference. In this installment, we look at the most interesting players heading into the 2010 NFL season.
Usually, when a formerly great running back gets tossed aside because he's gotten old and unproductive, he becomes uninteresting . The sniping between Tomlinson and Chargers, though, along with Tomlinson's noted sensitivity, has made him a player of interest.
The conflict basically boils down to this: Tomlinson thinks he's still really good, and the reasons he couldn't run in San Diego had more to do with the blocking, coaching and scheme. San Diego's contention (unspoken as it may be) is that everything else was just fine, but that Tomlinson simply fell down way too often and way too easily.
Ryan Mathews(notes), San Diego's rookie running back, is a player in this drama, too. If he steps into the Chargers offense and has a productive season, the Chargers will look at Tomlinson and say, "Yeah. The problem was you, old man."
That Tomlinson's new team, the Jets, booted the Chargers out of the playoffs last season, and that they both figure to contend for the AFC championship again in 2010, only helps to frame the intrigue around Tomlinson.
#11. Sam Bradford.