Tomlinson schooled NFL defenders for over a decade with a slick straight-arm and some serious wheels. I can't knock him for retiring with the Chargers, as he spent the majority of his wonderful career with them.
Some of his highlights as a Charger would have to include his 1,236-yard rookie campaign, a 2006 MVP season and an average of 17.5 touchdowns per season between 2002 and 2007.
As a member of the New York Jets in his final two years of action, Tomlinson showed flashes of brilliance that seemed to be gone in his final years with the Chargers.
Here's a look at Tomlinson's top five moments as a member of the New York Jets:
1) Passing Tony Dorsett on Oct. 3, 2010: Tomlinson put in a vintage performance against the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 3, 2010, notching his first 100-yard rushing game in over two years. He finished with 133 yards on the ground, passing Tony Dorsett for No. 7 all-time on the rushing charts.
2) Passing Eric Dickerson on Dec. 6, 2010: The only good thing that came of the Jets' 45-3 blowout loss to the New England Patriots was Tomlinson's 47 yards on 10 carries, which boosted him to No. 6 on the all-time rushing list. It propelled him past the legendary Eric Dickerson.
3) Wild-Card Victory in 2010: Tomlinson is known to shine when the lights are brightest, and he dazzled with an 82-yard afternoon in the New York Jets' 17-16 upset victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the 2010 Wild-Card Game.
His 5.1-yard rushing average was a playoff-high for him that year, and provided proof that he had enough gas in the tank to come back for the 2011 season.
4) Passing Jerome Bettis on Jan. 1, 2012: Tomlinson rushed for a season-high 56 yards in a loss against the Miami Dolphins. His performance pushed him past another all-time great, Pittsburgh Steelers legend Jerome Bettis, for No. 5 all-time on the rushing charts.
5) Showing Veteran Leadership on Jan. 2, 2012: Tomlinson became a vocal leader on the Jets, and a well-respected man in the clubhouse in just a short amount of time.
I loved that he stepped up and always told the media what was on his mind, and that was especially true of his comments on Santonio Holmes following the Jets' season-ending loss to the Dolphins in 2012.
"I'll tell you what, it's tough for guys to follow a captain that kind of behaves in that manner," he said of Holmes. "You're a captain, guys looking at you. You've got to lead by example. You've got to play your tail off until the last play. And when that doesn't happen, you will have guys look at you in the way that captains shouldn't be looked at. You should always put yourself out there as a leader."
Eric Holden is a lifelong New York Jets fan. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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