LaDainian Tomlinson is known for his football moves and his knack for finding the end zone. He made football look easy at times during his college career at TCU and later during an 11-year NFL career that will eventually land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But Tomlinson always made it a point to turn his success on the field into a platform off the field. He has a history of giving back to the Fort Worth and San Diego communities through his Touching Lives Foundation, which enhances the lives of deserving families through education, social and culture awareness, and positive self-esteem.
That is why Tomlinson earned the distinct honor from the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation of being the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award Gala on Wednesday at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel.
Tomlinson credited his upbringing as the driving force behind his commitment to community service. He remembers spending his college days at TCU trying to give back as much as he could.
“Dating back to my college days, I was one of the first athletes in college to go around and talk to kids in elementary school and go around talk to kids at the Boys and Girls Club,” said Tomlinson, who resides in Westlake. “I’ve always been a part of this community. It’s good to be back home. It’s great to be honored.”
Tomlinson, 36, was among the best running backs in the NFL from 2001 to 2007 with the San Diego Chargers. He rushed for more than 1,200 yards every season with at least 10 rushing TDs. He set the total touchdown record in 2006 with 31, showing off his rushing and receiving abilities out of the backfield.
Tomlinson spent nine of his 11 seasons with the Chargers, who drafted him with the fifth overall pick in 2001. He spent the final two years of his career with the New York Jets before retiring after the 2011 season.
Tomlinson, who now works as an NFL Network analyst, ranks fifth in NFL history with 13,684 rushing yards, and his 145 career rushing TDs are second only to Emmitt Smith’s 164.
Before his NFL success, Tomlinson had a standout college career at TCU (1997-2000). He compiled 5,263 rushing yards and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting his senior year. In his senior season, Tomlinson led the NCAA for the second straight year with 2,158 yards and 22 TDs and was selected as a unanimous first-team All-American.