The 31-year-old Tomlinson actually did have an incentive to play: he was 86 yards from what would have been his ninth 1,000-yard season, and the . But Ryan is persuasive. Tomlinson decided to watch from the sideline.
“As I told him, 1,000 yards would have been great, no question, but I didn’t come here to rush for 1,000 yards,” Tomlinson said after practice Wednesday. “ in my career, and that’s not important to me. What’s important to me is playing in this tournament and having that opportunity to win a championship.”
Tomlinson’s first season with the Jets has been designed for the long haul. Ryan regularly held him out of Wednesday practices later in the regular season. He had of the season but only 96 carries in the last eight games.
After last season, in which he rushed for a career-low 730 yards for San Diego, Tomlinson signed a two-year contract with the Jets, but it was widely thought he would be a complement to Shonn Greene. . Now, both are fresh.
“I think we’re going to have a big game from him,” Ryan said of Tomlinson as the Jets prepared for Saturday’s A.F.C. playoff game against Indianapolis. “I think there’ll be an opportunity for both of these backs.”
Tomlinson has never played in a , let alone helped his team win one — a dream of his, he said, since he was 6. He against New England in the 2007 season’s A.F.C. championship game because he had been injured a week earlier.
He has only 327 yards in seven playoff games in his career, four of which ended in losses. But he has another chance to play Saturday, and he is ready to go. The Jets need him and Greene to run the ball hard, in part, to keep it away from quarterback .
“This is the time of year I look forward to,” Tomlinson said.