One of LaDainian Tomlinson’s greatest football moves was sitting still for his Pro Football Hall of Fame bronze bust.
Tomlinson will be officially immortalized thanks to sculptor Scott Myers of Granbury.
Myers is the man behind Tomlinson’s bust. Tomlinson is a member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Enshrinement is Saturday in Canton, Ohio.
“The bust looks great,” Tomlinson said. “I didn’t get to see the finished product. He kind of tweaked a couple of things at the last moment. I’ve seen about 90 percent of it. I approve.
“I can’t wait to see the finished product in Canton.”
Tomlinson was a four-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler. He rushed for 13,684 career yards on 3,174 carries and scored 145 rushing touchdowns in 11 NFL seasons, nine with the San Diego Chargers and two with the New York Jets. He was a first-ballot selection.
Myers has done 17 bronze busts for the Hall of Fame, including Dallas Cowboys greats Charles Haley, Rayfield Wright and Bob Hayes. He also did the bust of Kenny Easley, who joins Tomlinson in the Class of 2017.
“I am honored to be sculpting his head. I’m working very hard to make it show the spirit of the man,” Myers said. “I knew who he was. I just got a phone call saying I was going to do it. The Hall of Fame is in charge of that.”
Tomlinson had a four-hour sitting in Myers’ studio in Granbury in May. Myers is one of only three sculptors around the country selected to do this year’s bronze busts of the inductees.
“He was unbelievably gracious and very, very nice. For four straight hours, he was the perfect model. He’s a quiet individual, but very nice. I had a good time talking to him,” Myers said. “He’s very deserving of this honor. That’s for sure. We talked about injuries. He said in his whole career, he never had a surgery. He’s had injuries, but no surgeries. He took very good care of himself as a player. I can’t recall all the specifics, but diet and rest.”
Myers uses a variety of approaches when sculpting a bust. Photos are used along with video. Two weeks after the studio sitting, Myers met again with Tomlinson at his home and saw another side of the former running back.
“LT is a very genuine and gracious individual who is a very dedicated father and committed community leader,” Myers said. “The world would be a better place to be in if there were more LaDainian Tomlinsons around.”
As for the sculptures, they are first made in water-based clay then cast in bronze. It takes approximately 35-40 pounds of water-based clay to complete a life-size Hall of Fame portrait. A bronze bust can last at least 400 years, sometimes longer.
“He has a very, very strong profile. This is my 17th head. I’ve gotten more photographic references of him than of any player that I’ve ever done. There’s no end to them,” Myers said. “There’s a way Hall of Famers carry themselves and I say that in a positive way. They have a real good work ethic. They come in, you tell them what to do, they’re very polite. You can see the intensity in the posing session. He’s a good guy.
“I try to watch him on television and catch little glimpses of things in his head and use those also in my sculpting. I freeze-frame that TV and I also videoed him when he was here. I watch that video and go all around his head. When I hear him talk and give his analysis on the week in the NFL or whatever is going on, it shapes the way I perceive him and the way I sculpt him. I try to put their soul into these pieces.”
In addition to being struck by Tomlinson’s diligence on the project, Myers was impressed with his physique.
“He looks like he could still play,” Myers said. “I would not want to tackle him.”
Joining Tomlinson and Easley in the Class of 2017 are Jerry Jones, Terrell Davis, Kurt Warner, Jason Taylor and Morten Andersen.
“It’s a great feeling to be immortalized. The thing that I can’t get over is knowing that bust lasts 400 years,” Tomlinson said. “That is amazing to me. Two hundred, 300 years from now, my bust will still be there for people to kind of look at and have an idea what kind of impact I had on the game of football.
“Scott is as good as it gets. I was very happy with what I’ve seen.”
Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement
6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN, NFL Network)
Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio
Class of 2017: Jerry Jones, Kenny Easley, LaDainian Tomlinson, Terrell Davis, Kurt Warner, Jason Taylor and Morten Andersen.