When number 21 yells, "Fore," you'd better pay attention.
Dan Patrick: What are you doing in the off-season?
LaDainian Tomlinson: I'm doing some commercials and appearances. Playing golf.
DP: What's tougher, running the football or playing golf?
LT: Playing golf, definitely. Especially when you're in Tahoe [for the pro-am] and they treat you like you're a pro, and they've got people along the fairway. They don't understand that they're going to get hit. I remember my first year, I lost one to the right when I was going onto the green. And I said, "Fore!" And it hit a guy, and when I got up there, he was laid out. The paramedics were there, he had a bag of ice on his head. It was horrible.
DP: Did you sign his head?
LT: No, but I did sign the golf ball.
DP: Now they know the pain that you feel when you get hit on the football field. Hardest hit ever?
LT: Probably James Farrior from Pittsburgh. He separated the AC joint in my shoulder.
DP: Do you have to act not hurt?
LT: I got up and ran to the sideline like everything was O.K. I don't ever want to let my opponent know that I'm hurting.
DP: You caught heat for sitting after a couple of carries in the playoff loss to the Patriots. If you could replay that game, what would you have done differently?
LT: Nothing. As a competitor it was natural for me to try to play in that game. And so that's what I did. I tried to play.
DP: How much longer do you play?
LT: Good question. I don't know.
DP: Could you walk away now?
LT: Absolutely. I'm very happy and content in what I've done and where I am as a person.
DP: Are you a Hall of Famer right now?
LT: I wouldn't say that. I'm not sure.
DP: But 129 touchdowns is hard to argue with.
LT: Yeah, well....
DP: Do you guys record other people's signs on the sideline?
LT: Not that I know of, no.
DP: Well, would you do some research and let me know so I could tell the commissioner? Maybe you're stealing signals, and we don't know that, with your helmet visor on.
LT: Don't give away all my secrets, Dan.
Manny Being Brett
I'M SURE you saw the clips of Manny Ramirez giving a fan a high five last week after making a catch—but before he threw the ball to first to complete a double play. The knee-jerk reaction for many is to shake their heads: Hey, he's not taking the game seriously. But I like it. Whenever I watch Manny, I'm entertained: He's having fun. Really, how different is this from what we loved about Brett Favre—throwing snowballs, goofing around, playing like he was in a sandlot. Sure, Manny's antics occasionally cost his team—in 2004 his memorably inexplicable cutoff of nearby outfielder Johnny Damon's throw resulted in an inside-the-park home run. But how many of Favre's sandlot throws ended in interceptions? Here's what I see in each: one of the best of his generation, playing like a kid.
Just a Hunch
MY FIRST thought when I saw Tony Parker after Game 6 of the Hornets series: His wife, Eva Longoria, must have bought that sweater for him. This is what you do for love—you put the sweater on and wear it to the postgame press conference, even if it means taking shots for wearing castoffs from the Cosby Collection.
The Truth about Charlie?
STEVE YOUNG told me last week about how he used to watch Patriots games and think, "Charlie Weis is a genius. That guy is uncanny, how he's able to make these adjustments and dominate in the second half." Now, with all that's come out about New England's signal stealing—and what we still don't know about how that information was used—Young isn't sure what to think of the former Patriots offensive coordinator. You know who else might be wondering about Weis? Notre Dame football fans. Last year his Irish team went 3--9 and in three games scored three points or less. Perhaps what they need to pep up the offense: new team videographer Matt Walsh.
THE FINE PRINT: The other day Pamela Anderson threw out the first pitch at a Dodgers game. Andruw Jones was caught looking.
Go to DANPATRICK.COM for more interviews, and hear live audio of Dan's radio show, 9 a.m. to noon ET, Mon.-Fri.
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SPORTS AGE/ICON SMI (RAMIREZ)
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TOM DIPACE (TOMLINSON)
ILLUSTRATION BY KEITH WITMER