LaDainian Tomlinson

by Paul Tran from San Diego

“‘I always think I can get better. I'm never satisfied. That's why I keep working’” (Tomlinson, USA Today, Dec. 7, 2005).

Since the beginning of his life, LaDainian Tomlinson has had to work harder than most children to get to where he is today. Now he has turned out to be one of the greatest running backs of all time. LaDainian was born into a family in Rosebud, Texas that did not have much to start with. As a young child, he began watching sports and was a great analyst who could tell his father what had happened in the game while he was away. When his parents decided to split, LaDainian and his two younger siblings went to live with his mother, Loreane Chappelle. While he was still young, he played Pop Warner football and helped his mother work to support his other siblings. “Some of the hurt in Tomlinson's life came from the fact that he grew up without much of a relationship with his father. As a kid, he was extremely close to his mother Loreane, brother LaVar, and sister, Londria. ‘LaDainian did what he thought would keep us happy,’ says his mom. "He's always wanted to take care of other people’” (Chappell). During his early high school years, his football coach played him at a position he was not accustomed to and that made it hard for him to get into a top football college. Even with that hindrance, near the end of his high school career, LaDainian Tomlinson (LT) was chosen as central Texas’s top offensive player at Waco University High School. When it was time, he received a scholarship to Texas Christian University(TCU) and began as a back-up running back to Basil Mitchell(future NFL running back). “But he wasn't recruited by a major college because his coach at Waco's University High School used him as a blocking fullback his first two seasons. After earning a scholarship to Texas Christian University, he backed up future NFL running back Basil Mitchell for two seasons” (Keith). His greatest times came after he was drafted by the San Diego Chargers as the 5th overall draft pick. The skills hidden in LaDainian were shown and he bloomed as a running back, exceeded his employers expectations, and became one of NFL’s greatest running backs. LaDainian Tomlinson is a great hero with skill, a caring personality, and an ability to work hard to accomplish great feats.

Stiff Arm (
Stiff Arm (

LaDainian Tomlinson has skill above and beyond other running backs in the league, he also has experience in winning major titles. In the Union Tribune, the reporter, Tim Sullivan, is describing how effective Tomlinson is and how much of a threat he is to other teams. " Tim Sullivan wrote in the San Diego Union-Tribune, ‘Tomlinson has been a melody without counterpoint, a yang without yin, a remarkable running back who has spent most of his career as a scintillating, yet surrounded solo act’" (Burton). Tomlinson is such an effective player on the field that he could possibly carry the team alone with the skill he has. The career he has revolves around a shining solo act that has made him unstoppable. He was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 2001 draft. Since then he has proven himself to be a great asset to the team. “He was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player for 2006. In 2003, he became the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and catch 100 passes in one season. Tomlinson also led the NFL in rushing for the 2007 season with 1,474 yards” (Milbert). LaDainian Tomlinson is shown as a skillful player because he received the MVP award for being the most valuable player on the team and he made records. He is also skilled because of his versatility, being able to both carry the ball on running plays and catching the balls on passing plays. Through skill, Tomlinson has achieved great heights that allow him to be compared to the greatest running backs ever.

Tomlinson helps out children at a hospital. (
Tomlinson helps out children at a hospital. (

LaDainian Tomlinson’s experience with a hard childhood has led him to help and care for others that are struggling every day. One of the many things that Tomlinson has done is to dedicate much of his time and money to the people who need it the most. “Tomlinson has devoted ample time to the San Diego community. ‘Tons of charities, great with kids, bought his mother a home with his first paycheck, talks up his teammates at every turn,’ Armstrong wrote. ‘To hear him tell it, it all goes back to the little town that taught him life's big lessons. That's what molded the man’" (Burton). He is considered a hero because he devotes much time to children and cares for their needs. With all his experiences as a child, LaDainian has grown up to be a role model and a strong willed person with a sturdy foundation. After Tomlinson’s career and finances stabilized, he began giving back to the community by opening up a charity. “Through the Tomlinson Touching Lives Foundation, LT organizes football camps, hosts fishing trips for homeless and at-risk kids, and gives away more than 1,500 presents during the holidays” (“Charged Up”). LT is shown as a hero because he spends time working with the children that are most at risk of surviving and helps make their lives a little bit easier and less worrisome. Through his charity foundation, LaDainian has done much to keep children away from worrying about family problems or financial problems. His charitable and kind personality has led him to be a wide known person to all and has helped him achieve a higher status to all people.

Pop Warner (
Pop Warner (

For him to improve on his skills, LaDainian Tomlinson works hard almost every day to stay in shape and be ready for the upcoming games. After a bad season in 2003, LT said to the press that he would come back in the future better than he ever was. “When the snub was announced, Tomlinson vowed to use it as motivation for 2004, “‘I’m going to work my tail off harder than I ever worked before," he said at the time. “When I come back, I'll be MVP of the league next year’" (Keith). Even at the level Tomlinson has been playing at, he still feels the need to improve and get better on certain aspects of his game. His perseverance and the drive that allows him to keep going has made him a perfect example for young players to look up to. LT described his weekly workouts and daily routines to children from Sports Illustrated. “The middle of the week is the most intense part. Wednesday and Thursday are the longest days. That's when you prepare your body and your mind for the game on Sunday. In the mornings you work out, and then it goes right into game-planning against your opponent. You're breaking down film, trying to see how you're going to attack. Friday is when you get your body work [like massages] done and really start to flush out your muscles. Mentally, you start to focus in. Saturday is a rest and relaxation day. You watch some extra film and then rest. Sunday obviously is when [the game] happens. The day after the game, you're tired and sore, so you get a good run and workout in so you won't be as sore in the middle of the week. Tuesday is the day off. That's the day when you've got to do all your family stuff” (“Charged Up”). During this intense weekly routine, he is shown as a hard worker because he works hard every day to prepare both mind and body for one game. For him to become a greater player, he must show that he can work hard all the time to improve his game, with the persistence he has, he will be able to break past the walls others have gotten stuck at and achieve greater victories. The greatest of players are the ones that have made a mark on history and keep trying harder to make more marks, not the ones that have done something great and start to go downhill from there.

Chargers Spring Training Camp. (
Chargers Spring Training Camp. (

As a player of great character, LaDainian Tomlinson shows what he can do on the field with his skill and perseverance and off the field with his charity foundations. LaDainian has broken many records during his career, and he is still trying to break more. All his life he has had to work to accomplish things he wouldn’t have been able to without his persistence. Now he gives back to the community what they have given him, a strong foundation, caring friends and family. He helps support young children that are struggling in life and helps them play sports and succeed in life like he has. LT inspires people with both his ability to run the big running plays and his caring personality towards everyone around him. His attitude on and off the field are always calm and uplifting, which helps everyone cheer up and keep trying hard to accomplish what he has done and more. LaDainian Tomlinson may be forever remembered as one of all-time’s greatest running backs but to many, he will always be a great role model, someone you can look up to for inspiration.

Works Consulted

Blair, Sam. "They're up and running: the National Football
League's top young running backs make the most of life in the
big time." Boys' Life Oct. 2005: 38+. General
Reference Center Gold. Web. 16 May 2010.

Burton, Paul. "Tomlinson, LaDainian (1979-)." Biography
Resource Center. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Student Resource
Center - Gold. Gale. DEL NORTE HIGH SCHOOL. 3 May. 2010

Chappell, Kevin. "In the huddle with LaDainian Tomlinson."
EbonyJan. 2007: 120+. General Reference Center
Gold. Web. 18 May 2010.

"Charged Up." Sports Illustrated Kids 3 Dec. 2008: 16.
General Reference Center Gold. Web. 16 May 2010.

Keith, Ted. "Mr. Nice Guy.(Features)(LaDainian Tomlinson's
skills)." Sports Illustrated Kids Dec. 2006: 29.
General Reference Center Gold. Web. 16 May 2010.

Keith, Ted. "Super-Charged: LaDainian Tomlinson is one of the
NFL's best players ... on one of its worst teams." Sports
Illustrated for Kids 1 Nov. 2004: 31. General Reference
Center Gold. Web. 16 May 2010.

Milbert, Neil. "Tomlinson, LaDainian." World Book
Student. World Book, 2010. Web. 21 May 2010.

Page created on 5/25/2010 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 5/25/2010 12:00:00 AM

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