Former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez revealed his shock and awe the moment he realized LaDainian Tomlinson was coming.
Obviously, having a “kid” on as a guest will bring out some welcomed youthful enthusiasm. Interestingly, it did not come from Claypool.
The Notre Dame product sounded like the wily NFL veteran while the former New York Jets signal-caller provided the innocence. It all happened thanks to Claypool’s revelation that LaDainian Tomlinson is his favorite all-time player.
“Yeah, I like LaDainian Tomlinson” is how Claypool answered Sanchez’s curiosity about a potential favorite player. “He was my favorite player. That’s why I wore No. 21.”
Sanchez immediately reminisced.
“When he got to the team (Jets), I see a locker setup for LaDainian Tomlinson, No. 21,” Sanchez said.
“It was three lockers down from mine. And I looked at it, and I said, ‘What the hell?’ Well, they had the helmet with the dark visor. They had everything set up.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ So I ran in, I have, like, a towel on. And I ask the equipment guys, ‘Yo, what the hell is going on?'”
Sanchez not only quickly got his answer, but he was also handed an off-the-field assignment.
“And they’re like, ‘Oh, he’s coming.’ Oh yeah, by the way… management wanted me to tell you you’re going to dinner with him tonight.”
It seemed far too fictional for the young Sanchez to believe.
“I was like, ‘Oh, my God. Holy sh*t. LT? That’s awesome.'”
It appears Sanchez was recounting the Jets’ recruitment pitch to Tomlinson, who did not know where he would play following the 2009 season with the then-San Diego Chargers (who were just upset by the upstart Jets in the divisional round).
Sanchez and Tomlinson played together for just two years, 2010 and 2011. In 2010, of course, Rex Ryan’s Jets came just six points away from the organization’s second Super Bowl appearance.
After getting that sweet revenge on Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots, LaDainian Tomlinson would play his final playoff game in Pittsburgh—as would Mark Sanchez (the New York Jets’ last playoff game to this date).