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L.T. says he can play four more years

Image (2) NFL_tomlinson1-thumb-250x185-6196.jpg for post 72359

In a press conference that was as much about the future as it was about the past, running back LaDainian Tomlinson predicted that he can play pro football for four more years.

Of course, before he plays even one more year, he needs to find a team that will pay him the kind of money he expects -- and that will give him the kind of playing time he thinks he deserves.

Contrary to his prior suggestion that he wants to play for a contender, Tomlinson said, “I don’t have to win now,” and that he’d be happy to join a team that’s on the rise and headed in the right direction.

(For some reason, the Browns came to mind when I heard him say those words.)

This subtle massage to L.T.'s comments from Monday could be an indication that he prefers to be a key player for an up-and-coming team and not a bit player for a championship team. And it’s clear that Tomlinson still believes he can play at a high level.

He attributed his decline since winning the MVP award in 2006 to the departure of coach Marty Schottenheimer, which given the arrival of Norv Turner resulted in a shift away from the run. But Tomlinson had only 19 fewer touches in 2007, so we’re not sure that the dip was the result of a decision not to give him the ball. Still, L.T. was borderline defiant: “Did I get old the year after I won the MVP? I don’t think so.”

Tomlinson declined to talk about any of the teams he might have heard from. In our view, however, one thing is clear -- if teams agree that Tomlinson can play for four more years, he won’t be on the shelf for four more days.

Unless, that is, Tomlinson wants more money and playing time than any interested teams currently are willing to give him.