Ladainian Tomlinson

LaDainian Tomlinson Player Bio

5’ 11” is not tall in this day and age of NFL football, but height cannot measure heart.

Heart, exactly what San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson has. His life has been a rollercoaster since he was a young child, but one thing has stayed the same throughout the last seven years of his life, his playmaking ability in the National Football League.

LaDainian Tomlinson, born June 23, 1979, was son to Loreane Chappell and late Oliver Tomlinson. He was born in a small town about 130 miles south of Dallas called Rosebud, Texas. His life changed dramatically when he was just a young child when he lost one of his brothers and his grandfather in an accident. His father then was permanently disabled when he suffered a severe back injury. His parents divorced a few years later, leaving his mother Loreane in charge of supporting the remaining members of the family.

Tomlinson attended University High School in Waco, Texas where he played basketball, baseball, and football. During his freshman year he was a linebacker, but he eventually started to blossom on the offensive side of the ball, and was moved to tailback. In his senior year Tomlinson rushed for 2,544 yards and 39 touchdowns. Those stats earned him District 25-4A MVP and a second-team offensive All-State team.

Coming out of high school, Tomlinson was not considered an elite back because he hadn’t put up great numbers in high school. He committed to Texas Christian University (TCU), which is a small college in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). In his freshman and sophomore season, he split time with Basil Mitchell.

Ladainian Tomlinson TCU

He was the full time starter in his junior year, and he compiled 1,850 yards rushing (led the NCAA that year), and 18 touchdowns. He set an NCAA record in his junior year when he rushed for 406 yards in a single game against UTEP. He again was the full time starter in his senior year and rushed for 2,158 yards (led the NCAA again) and 22 touchdowns. He also added 354 yards receiving. He was given the Doak Walker Award (nations best running back), and he came in fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting (nations best overall player).

He finished his NCAA career with 5,263 rushing yards (ranks sixth all time in NCAA Division 1-A history). TCU has since retired his jersey number (5).

Ladainian Tomlinson NFL Draft

In the 2001 NFL draft, the San Diego Chargers had the #1 pick overall. They traded this pick to #5 Atlanta (who got Michael Vick with the #1 pick) in exchange for the Falcons #5 pick, #67 pick, their second round pick in the 2002 draft, and wide receiver Tim Dwight. When San Diego’s #5 pick came up, they chose Tomlinson. He immediately became the starter for the Chargers. In Tomlinson’s rookie season, he rushed for 1,236 yards and 10 touchdowns along with 367 yards receiving.

In the 2002 NFL season, Tomlinson rushed for a team-record 1,683 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also caught 79 passes for 489 yards and a touchdown. Tomlinson was named to the Pro Bowl and was awarded the Rodney Culver award (Offensive Player of the Year).

The 2003 season was another great year for Tomlinson. He rushed for 1,645 yards along with 13 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 100 passes for a career-high 725 yards and four touchdowns. Tomlinson also threw one pass for 21 yards and that throw was a touchdown pass. He became the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and have at least 100 receptions. He led the NFL with 2,370 yards from scrimmage and became the eighth player in NFL history to have consecutive seasons with 2,000+ yards from scrimmage. He was a first alternate for the AFC Pro Bowl squad, on USA Today’s “All Joe Team,” NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and an All Pro by He was also received the JB award for community service from James Brown.

In the 2004 season, Tomlinson racked up 1,335 rushing yards, and a league leading 17 rushing touchdowns. He caught 53 passes for 441 yards and one touchdown. He ranked second in total scores with 18 total touchdowns. He was selected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl and was named All-Pro by the Associated Press.

Despite breaking his ribs near the end of the 2005 season, Tomlinson still rushed for 1,462 yards and 18 touchdowns. He had 370 yards receiving and two touchdowns. He also threw four passes (three of which were complete) for 47 yards and three touchdowns. He is tied for second for most touchdown passes by a running back or fullback. He became the fourth person in NFL history to have two passing, rushing, and receiving touchdowns in one season. Tomlinson was named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl. He was named Sporting News first-team All-Pro. He was the Chargers MVP and co-Offensive Player of the Year and was also nominated for the Fed-Ex Ground Player of the Year Award, but placed third behind Tiki Barber and Shaun Alexander.

The 2006 season for Tomlinson is, in my opinion, his best year in his career thus far. He won the NFL rushing title with 1,815 yards and set an NFL record with an incredible 28 rushing touchdowns. He had 508 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He set an NFL record with 31 total touchdowns. He also threw three passes (two of which were complete) for 20 yards and two touchdowns. He is the first to score three touchdowns in three consecutive games, and the first to have three games with four or more rushing touchdowns. He became the fastest player to score 100 total touchdowns, and Tomlinson became only the second running back to rush for at least 1,200 yards in his first six NFL seasons (Eric Dickerson was the other running back to do this). He was named to his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl. He was named NFL MVP and NFL Offensive Player of the Year. Tomlinson was the runner-up in the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year Award (Tiger Woods won the award), and he shared the Walter Payton Man of the Year award with Drew Brees. He was named Best Player in the NFL by Sports Illustrated and Sportsman of the Year by Sporting News. He was named Running Back of the Year by NFL Alumni Association and the Fed-Ex Ground Player of the Year. Tomlinson was also named the Chargers MVP.

Just after the 2006 season, Tomlinson’s life changed dramatically when on February 23, 2007, he got the news that his father Oliver and his brother-in-law Ronald McClain were killed in an auto accident. Tomlinson said that the event devastated him, but the words and lessons his father had given him would always live in him.

In the 2007 season, Tomlinson has rushed for a league leading 1,474 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has also caught 60 passes for 475 yards and two touchdowns. He has also thrown one pass which was completed for a touchdown.

Tomlinson was on pace to have over 1,500 rushing yards this season, which would make him the first player since Barry Sanders to have back-to-back 1,500 yard seasons, but limited action in the season finale kept him 26 yards short.

Information from and

Best Rookie Cards

Along with Tomlinson’s great performance on the field, his cards have been gaining value since he came into the league. If you are looking to pick up a few of his rookie cards, here is a list of some of his better ones:

Best Rookie Cards

-2001 Topps Chrome RC BV $300

-2001 Bowman Chrome RC BV $150

-2001 Finest RC BV $135

Best Rookie Autographs

-2001 Topps Rookie Premiere Auto BV $1200
-2001 Bowman Chrome Rookie Auto BV $800
-2001 SP Authentic Auto BV $800

Cards and BV’s from Football Beckett Vol. 7 Number 6 Issue 27