LT Ready to Make Run at the Record

Among the more interesting tidbits coming out of LaDainian Tomlinson remaining with the Chargers is an impressive change-of-direction. From Tomlinson - and it came off the field.

For years, LaDainian Tomlinson had said he would play through his current contract, which runs through 2011, and then retire. Tomlinson stressed he wasn't interested in records or hanging around, that he would be satisfied with his career at the end of the deal and move on.

But not so fast.

Tomlinson, the NFL's 14th leading rusher with 11,760 yards is now eyeing Emmitt Smith's all-time rushing record of 18,355.

"I think that's something that I've just kind of got a new fire of saying, 'Why not?'", Tomlinson said. "If we're winning and winning championships, I do want to play as long as I can and walk away with all the records. That would be a heck of a challenge and I'm up for challenges. I'm certainly going to try to do it."

Tomlinson grew up in Waco, Texas, idolizing Smith and the Cowboys. In fact during a period when times were tough for the Tomlinson family, his mother scrapped up enough money to send Tomlinson to an Emmitt Smith Football Camp.

It was at that camp that Tomlinson not only got to see his hero, but take a handoff from him. When Tomlinson was running through a drill, luck had it that Smith jumped in a participated, stuffing a football in a Tomlinson's midsection.

Now Tomlinson has made it clear he wants Smith's mark.

"I think for so long I blocked it out," said Tomlinson, who is the third player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first eight seasons. "It was so far out there, but reevaluating where I'm at in my career now, I think it's reachable."

There's a chance he might have to set it in a different uniform. But that scenario will be considered down the line. Right now, he's in line to make a serious run at the record - if he stays healthy.

Remember that Smith ended his stellar career with the Arizona Cardinals and not the Cowboys.

"I guess I just kind of got the sense of, 'Why not?' Why should I at the end of my career look back and say, 'I was this close to Emmitt's record. Why didn't I continue to play and try to get it?' I don't want to have that regret. I don't want to have any regrets when I leave this game. I guess that's kind of what's changed," Tomlinson said.


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