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09 May 2008


Intrigued L.T. glad to see Patriots ensnared in Spygate
By Mike Freeman
CBSSports.com National Columnist

San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson has long been correctly viewed as one of the true good guys in sports. He is also, in many ways, one of the NFL's statesmen, so what he told CBSSports.com in an interview Thursday about the apparent conclusion of Spygate just might raise a few eyebrows.

It was Tomlinson last season who stated after the New England taping scandal first broke that the Patriots live by the saying: If you're not cheating, you're not trying.

Monday, Tomlinson admitted he had been following the case closely and added it was important that the Patriots were caught and their taping system stopped.

If they weren't, Tomlinson said, the team likely would have continued its spying and "who knows what would have happened or how they would have benefited?"

"I really wanted to see what happened with (Matt) Walsh," said Tomlinson, who is promoting the Gatorade Tiger Moonshot Challenge. "Initially I thought he had some different evidence. But it wasn't the case.

"I think there are always going to be people who look for an advantage. The Patriots were trying to get an edge. It's just great that they got caught."

To be clear, Tomlinson wasn't gloating, he was simply answering questions. But he is also highly opinionated on the subject and didn't hesitate in sharing those thoughts.

You have to love him for that (unless you're a Patriots fan). He's as fearless off the field as he is on it.

There's also no question that the Chargers and Patriots have developed into one of football's most entertaining and increasingly bitter rivalries. In a divisional playoff game several years ago, Patriots players, on the Chargers' home turf, mocked Shawne Merriman's sack dance, angering Tomlinson and other Chargers. San Diego linebacker Shaun Phillips called the Patriots "classless."

"I was very upset," Tomlinson said at the time. "They showed no class at all, absolutely no class, and maybe it comes from their head coach."

Tomlinson would later reconcile with Bill Belichick at the Pro Bowl.

Tomlinson's latest words might -- just might -- add to the bad blood.

Tomlinson isn't alone in being intrigued about Spygate. Several NFL players interviewed this week stated they had been following the case closely and offered all kinds of opinions on the subject.

Conspiracy theories and Spygate chat is apparently occurring inside NFL locker rooms as much as it is among the general public.

Tomlinson said Spygate was and remains a constant topic among the Chargers. "We talk about it all the time," he said. "If we're talking about it then you know other teams are talking about it. They're talking about this in NBA locker rooms. It's being talked about all over sports."

What surprised Tomlinson the most about New England's taping?

"I was shocked at the extent teams try to get an advantage," he said. "I had no idea it was like that."

Tomlinson said he has fully recovered from a severely sprained knee suffered at the end of last season.

"I'm running and cutting and everything is good," he said. "I'm ready to go."

Ok, here is my take on all this crap. I know they can't take away championships...well, they can, but they won't....I believe everything from the year 2000 on should have an asterisk. Now I know it isn't the players fault, but people are not stupid. I think they had to know something, just didn't ask questions. I figure all the coaching staff knew. Just too many people in the organization. Belichick claims that he didn't interpret the rules the way Roger Goodell did. What do we all believe? Well, the way I see it, Good ole' Bill had to realize this was a bunch of crap. He went from blowing in Cleveland to blowing in New England to blowing in New York to all of a sudden a genius in New England (once again). How does one become a genius overnight? By cheating, of course! I really hate how this all turned out... and this was before I found out about those asses taping the Steelers. I don't know what to think now. I really don't think the commish is going to punish any further. Is it right? I don't think so. We as fans can't do anything about it, but complaing about it for the next ten years.


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