Former TCU and NFL great LaDainian Tomlinson, who retired last summer, said his work as a television analyst keeps him busy, but he still misses the game.
Tomlinson was in Fort Worth on Thursday to unveil a TCU-themed Teen Room at the Boys & Girls Club in north Fort Worth. Tomlinson attended a branch near Waco as a youth.
Why did you choose to donate to the Boys & Girls Club?
I grew up in the Boys & Girls Club. The impact that a place like this can have on a kid from the inner city is tremendous. It gives you so many benefits and so many core values, like leadership and teamwork. Those are things that help you get a job. I wanted to give back to where I’m from and where I grew up.
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Do you miss playing football?
I miss competing on Sundays. I don’t think that will ever go away. I’ve been competing much of my life. I miss that part of the game. But everything else, you know being sore and hurt and beat up, I don’t miss that part.
How are you spending your retirement?
It’s funny because I travel a lot now. I do television for NFL Network and so I travel to Los Angeles a bunch. I guess traveling a bunch.
What’s it like being a part of the media?
It’s OK. There are pros and cons like anything else. I really enjoy being around the game and talking about the game and really sharing my opinion with the public.
How has the running back position changed in recent years?
It was a run-dominated game. Now it’s a passing league and there are running backs by committee. The norm was for one running back to get 300 carries. Well, you look at last year, you know, maybe only three or four running backs had over 300 carries. The game is obviously changing into a passing league and spreading the ball around. Those days of what I did are ancient years.
Do you think it’s still possible for three-down backs to exist?
Absolutely. When you have a special talent, you’re going to put him on the field. I don’t care if he’s running the football or catching it, he’s going to play all three downs. If a guy’s good enough to do it, it’s going to happen.
How big of a problem are concussions in today’s game?
I think the NFL has done a great job of studying concussions. If you look at where we are now in our league to where we used to be, there’s so much more emphasis on concussions and the head gear and the study and analysis. Throughout a game doctors are checking for concussions at all times. I think we’re in a great place with concussions. Obviously, we have a long way to go. I don’t know if you can fully prevent concussions in a contact sport like football but the NFL has done a tremendous job.