LaDainian Tomlinson doesn't mind offering his time to the youth. In fact, he says he does it a lot, mostly out of the spotlight and without the media present because he's not doing it strictly for publicity.
So that's why he nearly decided against taking part in the five-day "My Wish" series that was featured on ESPN's "SportsCenter" this week.
But he was glad he went through with it.
"It was fun, you know?" Tomlinson told me as we spoke just before he sprinted up the tunnel and inside the Jets locker room at the New Meadowlands Stadium on the final day of minicamp. "I’m always kind of hesitant to do stuff like that with the media, with ESPN because that’s a private time. And I like to talk to the kids a lot. But that was kind of different.
"This kid really wanted to have us make a wish. So for me, my heart went out to him. I just wanted to take his mind of whatever may be going on."
Yours truly was granted special behind-the-scenes access for part of the touching time the two spent with each other. Just seeing the smile Tomlinson put on the face of LaJerrick, a 9-year-old from Indiantown, Fla. with a congenital heart disease, was enough to nearly bring his family members to tears.