The fifth-leading rusher in NFL history and Hall of Fame finalist was running with an idea Sunday before doing a meet-and-greet with Jets fans.
LaDainian Tomlinson knows what’s needed to fix their favorite team.
“The Jets have all the pieces except for the quarterback,” Tomlinson told Newsday at the fourth annual “Jets House” event in Manhattan. “If they can find a quarterback this offseason that can be the future of this franchise, I think they have everything else they need.”
Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t expected back. Geno Smith is coming off ACL surgery and his contract is expiring. Bryce Petty flashed raw potential during the second half of the Jets’ 5-11 season, but the 2015 fourth-round pick’s audition was cut short by injuries.
“I think he deserves a chance,” said Tomlinson, an NFL Network analyst who was the Jets’ leading rusher in 2010, the last time they made the playoffs. “He looked good enough last year toward the end of the season that you can give him a shot . . . But I also think you have to bring in another guy that can compete with Bryce.”
A veteran or a draft pick?
“I think possibly both,” Tomlinson said. “I think you bring in definitely a veteran guy, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with drafting another guy . . . You’ve still got Christian Hackenberg sitting there. You’ve got to see what you have in him.”
This could be a crucial season for coach Todd Bowles after the Jets plummeted from 10-6 in his first year. “I think he has to prove that the franchise is going in the right direction,” Tomlinson said.
Like Tomlinson, Darrelle Revis figures to be Canton-bound. Tomlinson hasn’t given up on the 31-year-old cornerback, who struggled in 2016.
“I do think Revis has something left,” Tomlinson said. “For one, Revis is a very smart player, and so his intelligence will still allow him to play even if his physical skills are diminished a little bit. Can he make the transition [to safety]? Absolutely he can if he sets his mind to it.”
Tomlinson, 37, retired after the 2011 season, his second with the Jets after nine with the Chargers. He finished with 13,684 rushing yards and 624 receptions and could become a first-ballot Hall of Famer on Saturday.
“Not many guys are first-ballot Hall of Famers,” Tomlinson said. “I believe that the numbers are what they are, and I left it all out on the field. So I’m happy with where I stand.”
He’s also happy about branching out into acting. “God Bless the Broken Road” is due to hit movie theaters later this year. Tomlinson plays a pastor.
“It’s something that I’d never experienced before, and so I had to kind of channel my inner Denzel Washington, if you will, at times, not that I did a great job at that,” Tomlinson said. “But I think I was able to do a sufficient job.”