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Tomlinson expected back

LaDainian Tomlinson said he's thinking about retiring. (Jan.

LaDainian Tomlinson said he's thinking about retiring. (Jan. 16, 2011) Credit: AP

Ever since his season-ending wrap up session with the media, Mike Tannenbaum has maintained LaDainian Tomlinson would be back for a second season with the Jets, though the general manager did hint things could change.

Apparently, nothing's changed.

Tomlinson is expected back for the 2011 season -- if there is one. The future Hall of Fame running back paced the Jets' rushing attack with 914 yards and six touchdowns, both team highs, and formed a formidable duo with second-year man Shonn Greene.

The questions regarding Tomlinson's future status with the team arose from his gradual decline in production as the season wore on. After rushing for 435 yards and three touchdowns in his initial five games of the season, Tomlinson ran for only 479 yards and three scores in his next 10.

Tomlinson topped triple digits in rushing only once all season, and failed to run for more than 57 yards in any of the Jets' final 10 regular-season contests. Rex Ryan also started giving Tomlinson -- along with veteran fullback Tony Richardson, whose days with the franchise appear to be numbered with John Conner waiting in the wings -- one practice day off per week near the tail end of the regular season to keep him fresh.

But Tomlinson, who'll be 32 in June, showed he still had something left in the tank during the postseason. He ran for 141 yards and a pair of TDs in the Jets' three playoff games, with 82 of those yards and both scores coming in their AFC wild-card win over the Colts in Indianapolis.

He's made it known -- as recently as last month at a fundraiser in Texas during Super Bowl week -- that he wasn't ready to call it a career after running for 13,404 yards in 10 seasons, placing him sixth on the NFL's all-time rushing leaders list.

"I would definitely like to play, no question," Tomlinson said last month. "Really and truly, I'm under contract, and I fully expect to play football with the Jets next year. Until I'm told otherwise, I just expect to be there."

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