If you are a fan of the NFL, you might have heard of two players with the same last name: Dalvin Tomlinson and LaDainian Tomlinson. Dalvin is a nose tackle for the Cleveland Browns, while LaDainian is a former running back who played for the San Diego Chargers and the New York Jets. Both of them have had impressive careers in the league, but are they related? The answer is no, they are not.
Dalvin Tomlinson’s background and career
Dalvin Tomlinson was born on February 28, 1994, in McDonough, Georgia. He attended Henry County High School, where he played football and was a wrestler, winning three state titles. He also played soccer and suffered a torn ACL in his senior year. He was recruited by Alabama and redshirted his first season while recovering from his injury. He played for the Crimson Tide from 2013 to 2016, winning two national championships and earning All-SEC honors.
He was drafted by the New York Giants in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and played for them from 2017 to 2020. He was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2017 and became a reliable starter for the Giants’ defensive line. He recorded 277 tackles, 13.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and seven pass deflections in his four seasons with the Giants.
He signed a two-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings in 2021, but was traded to the Cleveland Browns in 2022. He has been a key contributor for the Browns’ defense, registering 42 tackles, 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and one pass deflection in 13 games so far.
LaDainian Tomlinson’s background and career
LaDainian Tomlinson was born on June 23, 1979, in Rosebud, Texas. He attended University High School in Waco, Texas, where he played football and ran track. He was recruited by Texas Christian University (TCU) and played for the Horned Frogs from 1997 to 2000. He became one of the best college running backs of all time, rushing for over 5,000 yards and 54 touchdowns in his career. He won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back in 2000 and was a unanimous All-American.
He was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft, and played for them from 2001 to 2009. He became one of the greatest running backs in NFL history, leading the league in rushing yards twice, rushing touchdowns three times, and scoring once. He set the single-season records for rushing touchdowns (28) and total touchdowns (31) in 2006, when he also won the NFL MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, and Walter Payton Man of the Year awards. He made five Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams with the Chargers.
He signed with the New York Jets in 2010 and played for them until 2011. He helped them reach two consecutive AFC Championship Games and became the sixth player in NFL history to reach 13,000 rushing yards. He retired after the 2011 season with 13,684 rushing yards, 145 rushing touchdowns, 4,772 receiving yards, and 17 receiving touchdowns. He ranks seventh all-time in rushing yards and third all-time in total touchdowns.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017 and is widely regarded as one of the best players of his generation. He currently works as a special assistant for the Los Angeles Chargers and as an analyst for NFL Network.
Why do they have the same last name?
Despite having the same last name and playing in the same league, Dalvin Tomlinson and LaDainian Tomlinson are not related by blood or marriage. They both have African-American ancestry and their surname is derived from a Scottish clan name that means “son of Tom”. According to Ancestry.com, Tomlinson is a common surname among African-Americans because many enslaved people adopted their owners’ names after emancipation.
Dalvin Tomlinson has said that he is not related to LaDainian Tomlinson, but he does admire him as a player and a person. He has also said that he grew up watching LaDainian Tomlinson play for the Chargers and that he wears number 94 as a tribute to him. LaDainian Tomlinson has also praised Dalvin Tomlinson as a player and a leader and has said that he considers him as a “cousin” because of their shared name.
Dalvin Tomlinson and LaDainian Tomlinson are two NFL stars who share a common last name, but not a family connection. They both have had successful careers in the league, but at different positions and times. They both respect each other and have a friendly relationship, but they are not related by blood or marriage. They are simply two Tomlinsons who have made their mark in the NFL.