LaDainian Tomlinson on fatherhood
In the third season of his Hall of Fame career, running back LaDainian Tomlinson led the NFL in total yards with 2,370.
Tomlinson, the legendary TCU alumnus and San Diego Chargers great, thinks Cowboys' running back Ezekiel Elliott has the talent to one day make it to the Hall of Fame. But, like Tomlinson famously did throughout his career, Elliott will have to dedicate himself to improving no matter how good he already is, Tomlinson said.
"You’ve got to continue to challenge yourself and be honest with yourself in many different ways," said Tomlinson, who helped host All Pro Dad day on the TCU campus along with Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson. "The off-season was my time to dissect my game and I was hard on myself. I attacked the things I needed to get better at."
Tomlinson, who played 11 seasons and made five Pro Bowls, said star players such as Elliott have to be aware of what's expected of them. Tomlinson, who is a commentator on the NFL Network, voiced disappointment when Elliott was caught on camera giving up on a play after an interception against the Broncos last season.
"At the end of the day, Zeke is a guy, as I was, say whatever you want, people look to him," he said. "Those linemen, people on defense, he brings energy to that team. His reactions and the things that he does — everybody is looking at that."
Tomlinson said it's hard for a young star player early in his career to understand how they represent the team and help lead their teammates.
"He can impact that 53rd man just like he can the quarterback," he said. "I think he understands what he means to the Dallas Cowboys."
Elliott, who rushed for 983 yards and seven touchdowns despite missing six games because of a suspension in his second season, is about to hit the prime of his career, Tomlinson said.
"Zeke is in the perfect position right now. He has an opportunity to be a Hall of Fame player, but it’s going to be up to him to put the work in. Every single day there is something you can work on to perfect your craft," he said.
That means being honest with yourself, Tomlinson said.
"As a player you have to be able to do that because you always have people all around you telling you how good you are. But you need to be honest with yourself and say, 'You know what, I didn't block very good this year or I didn't catch the ball very good. I didn't run this play as well as I would like.'"