LaDainian Tomlinson was back on TCU’s campus Friday to host his annual youth football camp. He talked about TCU’s ever-changing campus, Baylor, managing high expectations and his induction into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame.
TCU’s Growing Campus
“Whenever I come back, new things are going on on campus. One day I’m going to come and not recognize the place at all,” Tomlinson said.
He said his camps help the campus garner exposure among young kids.
“At the end of the day, I want to try get more eyes on this campus because I really feel like it’s a hidden gem,” Tomlinson said.
With his NFL career over, Tomlinson calls Fort Worth home.
“It’s alway home, obviously,” he said.
Coming off a 12-1 season that included a share of the Big 12 championship and a Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl win, Tomlinson said he is confident TCU will manage lofty expectations.
“People know now that when you play TCU you have to be ready, you have to bring your lunch,” he said. “Something tells me Gary [Patterson] will have those guys motivated and ready to play.”
“You learn to deal with [expectations] as you get a little bit older and more experienced,” said Tomlinson, who placed fourth in the 2000 Heisman trophy race.
At the center of TCU’s high expectations is senior quarterback Trevone Boykin, who, like Tomlinson, was fourth on a Heisman ballot.
“He’s going to be just fine,” Tomlinson said. “He’s focused on winning games.”
Tomlinson said he has no doubts about what Boykin is capable of.
“Without question I think he’s a Heisman caliber player,” he said.
“Our rivalry was with SMU, obviously. But you know, it wasn’t much of a rivalry. It has to go back and forth to be a rivalry,” he said.
Tomlinson said it’s “only natural” for a school like TCU, that started in Waco, to be a rival with Baylor, a school that still calls Waco home.
“It has a little bit to do with the bad blood between the teams,” he said.
Tomlinson said he enjoys hosting his youth camps because it allows him the opportunity to mentor young kids, and demonstrate leadership.
“I spend a lot of time with all of these kids,” he said. “This is my way of coaching.”
Tomlinson said his foundation has hosted several 5k runs locally, including one at Texas Motor Speed Way. All of which help benefit the Tomlinson Touching Lives Foundation.
“We are making sure people stay active,” he said.
San Diego Chargers Ring of Honor
Tomlinson will become the 38th inductee into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame next fall. His No. 21 jersey will be retired when San Diego hosts the Kansas City Chiefs Nov. 22.
“You never set out to get your number retired or go in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “You play the game, you play it as hard as you can.”
Tomlinson, the 2006 NFL Most Valuable Player, said he was honored to have his number retired like former Chargers Lance Alworth, Dan Fouts and Junior Seau.
“It’s the Mount Rushmore of an organization,” he said. “It’s a great feeling.