New York Jets’ Ladainian Tomlinson: This Is The Biggest Game That I Have Been In

On the AFC Championship Game being the biggest game of his career:

Yes it is. No question. Just to be in this situation, back in the AFC Championship Game with so much on the line, this is the biggest game that I have been in.

On the personal significance of winning a Super Bowl:

It would mean everything, to be honest with you. I’ve dreamed about winning a Super Bowl championship since I was six-years old, growing up right there in Texas. Being a huge Cowboys fan and seeing the Cowboys win three Super Bowls in the 90’s, that was right when I was growing up and football was everything. So you can imagine, I always dreamt about having the chance to win my own championship. To have the opportunity back at home, it would be a dream come true. It would be anything and everything that I could ask for in my career.

On being featured in a two-running back offense:

I think that in this system, you really have a chance to take a breath and get out of the game, and you can keep going at it fully for four quarters. Usually when you are the No. 1 back and you take all the carries, you have to pace yourself throughout the game to make sure you have something left in the fourth quarter.

With Shonn (Greene) and I, we can just go full-tilt every time we’re in there because we know we have got somebody who can come in and take some of the carries and take some of the snaps and both of us can stay fresh.

On comparing the Jets and Vikings Super Bowl opportunities prior to the 2010 season:

Honestly, I didn’t know which team was closer. Both teams got to the championship game and both teams had lost that championship game. For me, it was all about the right fit. I really felt comfortable with (Jets head) Coach Rex Ryan, with (offensive coordinator) Brian Schottenheimer, (running backs coach) Anthony Lynn and the coaches here on the offensive staff. It came down to that I felt comfortable with the offense already. I felt like I wouldn’t have as much of a learning curve if I came to the Jets.

On Jets FB Tony Richardson:

Tony is a great pro. He is a guy that is reliable. You know you can always count on what you’re going to get from him on a day-in, day-out basis. He is just a guy who you love to have on your team and in the locker room. He’s great off the field. The thing that doesn’t get noticed a lot is the dirty work that he does, not only blocking his man, but how much he helps the offensive line out on the way to his blocks. He does a great job at that.

On Jets QB Mark Sanchez’s development as a second-year quarterback:

He has been great in his second year. Obviously, people say you make your biggest jump from your first to second year, and I believe that if you talk to Mark, he will tell you that. The sky is the limit for this guy. He’s a guy who is constantly getting better, and he plays his best football in the most critical situations. That’s what you want in your quarterback, meaning if you’re down in the fourth quarter, he can put a drive together to go up and win the game. He seems to play his best football at those times. That’s all you can ask from a guy who is at the quarterback position.

On contemplating retirement if the Jets win the Super Bowl:

I haven’t thought about it. I have a lot of time to obviously think about that. We’ve got to take it one game at a time. We’ve got Pittsburgh this week and we can’t get ahead of ourselves.

On facing the Steelers defense:

It is a tough group. These are guys who rank high in defensive categories all across the board. We know we have our hands full with them. It is a team that doesn’t beat themselves. You’ve got to earn everything you get against them. They are well-coached and have great players on that side of the ball. It is going to definitely be a challenge. Obviously, the first time we played them, they didn’t have (Steelers S) Troy Polamalu, so we understand that he is going to be out there and it is going to be a totally different game and a totally different defense for us. We’ve got to be prepared for anything and everything.

On evaluating his success this season despite not reaching 1,000 rushing yards:

I think I’ve had a solid year – really solid for a guy who wasn’t a feature back or a guy who split time. I thought it was a really successful year. I’m happy with the way it turned out. Obviously, the coaches gave me an opportunity to get 1,000 (rushing) yards going into the last game, but I chose not to. I chose to sit it out and get ready for the playoffs because for me, it wasn’t about getting 1,000 yards. That’s not why I came here. I came here to have an opportunity to win the championship.

On playing a game with the Jets in London:

I had a great time when I was over in London – really just great fans that showed their support. It was a packed crowd and a sellout. I think the London fans really embraced the NFL. I would love to have another opportunity to come there with my new team, the Jets.

On the importance of having an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl when signing with the Jets:

It is the only and No. 1 goal for me is going and winning a Super Bowl championship.

On sharing his past experience of not reaching the Super Bowl with Greene and Sanchez:

They are guys who really understand that. You look around the locker room and you see guys like myself, (Jets LB) Jason Taylor and (DE) Shaun Ellis – guys who have been in the league for awhile and haven’t had this opportunity.

But here are (Sanchez and Greene) two years into the league and have two straight conference championship (games). They understand the sense of urgency. They understand that it just doesn’t happen every year. It is great that they understand that because you know that you are going to get their best.

On playing at Pittsburgh after winning at Indianapolis and at New England:

Each game is different for us. We understand that we have to take it one game at a time. Preparation for the week is different. We’ve been on a roll and we are actually playing our best football at this time, which we always wanted to be, but this week is going to be like no other. This is Pittsburgh with great fans. It is a tough place to play. We are going to have to earn the victory. We understand what’s at stake and we plan on going there and performing well.

On his status compared to his last AFC Championship Game experience:

I don’t have a strained MCL this time. Obviously, I feel a lot better having my legs under me and being healthy. I’m excited about this opportunity.

On not being able to play in the AFC Championship game in 2007:

It was difficult. It was like something I’ve never experience before, being in that type of game and not having the opportunity to do much and help my team. If you think about it, injuries happen sometimes. Whenever they happen, it is out of your control. It is a 100-percent thing that injuries can happen. For me, it was just bad timing. But the good thing is I’m totally healthy now.

On it being the Jets biggest game since 1968:

This is huge. As guys on this team, we understand how big this game is. We are excited about the opportunity. This is what our fans have waited for. For us, we are looking forward to the opportunity to bring home a championship to our fans.

On his durability throughout his career:

It’s all about taking care of yourself and the things that you have to do every week to prepare yourself to take a beating and get ready for the next week – the cold tubs, the hot tubs, the massages, the chiropractor. Whatever has worked for me, which all of these things have over the years, it’s about sticking to it. It is a routine that you have to do it every week. You can’t slack off on it because the little bumps and bruises that you get every week, they pile up, so you’ve got to stay on top of that stuff so you can be able to play next week.