Back in foul mood day after win
SAN DIEGO -- Wearing an aqua Miami Dolphins jersey with Junior Seau's name and number on it, San Diego Chargers star running back LaDainian Tomlinson was just as evasive off the field on Monday as he was on it 24 hours earlier.
Apparently angry about something, Tomlinson blew off his usual day-after session with the media and quickly left the Chargers' headquarters after practice.
"I'm not doing anything today," said Tomlinson, who was gloomy even though he rushed for 200 yards -- his third-highest total in three pro seasons -- on Sunday to lead the Chargers to their first win this season, 26-20 at Cleveland.
"I'm really (mad)," he said, before driving away.
Tomlinson might still have been stewing about a call late in Sunday's game. With the Chargers leading 23-20 and facing third-and-goal from the 1, quarterback Drew Brees ran a bootleg and was sacked for a 13-yard loss. The Chargers had to settle for Steve Christie's fourth field goal of the game, from 32 yards, for a 26-20 lead.
Tomlinson had carried seven times for 48 yards on that drive. Walking back to the bench, he tossed his helmet and yelled at an assistant coach.
Tomlinson said after the game that he wanted to score a touchdown to put the game out of reach.
"If I'd have had a helmet on I might have done the same thing," coach Marty Schottenheimer said on Monday.
Calling a bootleg instead of letting Tomlinson finish the drive led to quite a bit of second-guessing.
Asked if calling the bootleg was a mistake, Schottenheimer said: "Well, you know, you could make a case for that, I suppose. If you call 65 plays a game on offense and 65 plays a game on defense, I'm sure that if you stay at it you'll find one or two that you'd like to have a redo on."
Tomlinson carried 26 times Sunday, and scored on a 70-yard run early in the second half.
Schottenheimer said he didn't know why Tomlinson was upset on Monday.
Tomlinson apparently wore the Seau jersey as a tribute to his former teammate. The Chargers host Seau and the Dolphins next Monday night. Seau was the Chargers' first-round draft pick in 1990 and was selected to 12 Pro Bowls. Seau always envisioned finishing his career with his hometown team, but was traded to Miami in April.
"I've seen a lot of Junior Seau jerseys around this community," Schottenheimer said about Tomlinson wearing one, too. "As long as he's wearing a Chargers jersey Monday night, that's all I care about."
Brees got a chuckle out of seeing Tomlinson wearing the jersey of a player who will be going after both of them in a week.
"It's something you can do after a win," Brees said. "You can come in here and guys are joking around."
Brees said strength coach Dave Redding wears the opponent's cap during the week to motivate players.
"I guess L.T.'s attitude was kind of the same deal," Brees said. "He walks in with a Junior jersey. With Junior, it's probably a combination of respect but yet, hey, this is who we've got this week."
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press
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