FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- LaDainian Tomlinson doesn't plan on calling it quits, not the way he feels now.

The future Hall of Fame running back surely didn't sound like someone who's 32 years old and in the twilight of his career, explaining Friday that he already has decided to return for season No. 12 in 2012 -- whether it's with the Jets or someone else.

"I will say this is not the last year I will play football," Tomlinson said. "I hope I continue to play here, but this won't be my last year playing.

"I don't want to retire too early. You're going to have the fire, anyway, because we've been doing it so long. But I don't want to have that urge where I feel like I just didn't get it out of me."

Some may think that's a bold statement from Tomlinson, given that his detractors believe he's on the decline and doesn't have the burst he once displayed. He doesn't want to hear any of that, and believes his rationale for wanting to give it a go again next year is simple.

"How I feel, physically, mentally," Tomlinson said, "that's why I can say I'm going to continue to play after this year."

Although he racked up 914 yards and six rushing touchdowns in 15 regular-season games in 2010, speculation swirled in the offseason about Tomlinson's status with the Jets.

Sure, he looked good in the AFC wild-card win over the Colts, gaining 82 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns. But Tomlinson amassed only 59 yards on 19 carries in the Jets' final two postseason contests.

Factor in Shonn Greene taking the reins as the featured back, Joe McKnight's expected increased role and the drafting of Bilal Powell, and some thought Tomlinson's days with the Jets were over.

"I didn't think so," he said. "I felt like I played well enough where I added value to this team. That was my mind-set -- I felt like there was something that I can offer here that would make them want to bring me back."

Still, he had to take a pay cut from $2.6 million to $1.1 million this season as the Jets' third-down specialist. "I just think in his role now, primarily being a third-down back," Rex Ryan said, "where he doesn't have to take the grind of being that first- and second-down back on a down-after-down basis, I think will be good for him."

Tomlinson has no problem with the role. "As I got later in my career, this is what I wanted to do," he said. "In order to take a role like this, you can't have an ego. That's not what it's about for me. Like I said last year, I wanted to come here and have a role. I was hoping that would be my role last year, but it just didn't shake out like that. I think that's the way it'll be this year and I'm looking forward to it."

Notes & quotes:Ryan suggested that free-agent WR Derrick Mason, who took a physical with the Jets on Thursday, is mulling his options. His former teams -- the Titans and Ravens -- reportedly are interested in his services. "I'd obviously like to get Derrick right now," Ryan said. "But he's got other teams and I'm sure he'd have to leave money on the table to come here." . . . WR Plaxico Burress (ankle) participated in the morning walkthrough but not the afternoon practice . . . Released WR Jerricho Cotchery is drawing interest from the Titans, according to The Tennessean.

More Jets