Tomlinson talks retirement on radio show
"I am contemplating retirement," the 11-year veteran told XX1090 in San Diego on Friday. "That's what I told my coaches and told my agent and everybody. That's exactly what it is. This is the first time in my playing career that I've actually honestly thought about this may be it for me. That's kind of where I am right now."
Tomlinson, who is a free agent after completing a two-year contract with the Jets, said he believes he can still play.
"Yeah, I definitely think so," he said. "For one, my experience in the passing game, and I think I've proven this year that I'm still viable out of the backfield in one-on-one matchups and things like that. I still get open. I think the passing game, a lot of teams are throwing the ball these days, and I think I'd help people a lot in the passing game."
He was the backup to Shonn Greene this season, with 280 yards rushing.
Tomlinson is currently the fifth all-time leading rusher in NFL history with 13,684 yards, 417 yards behind the fourth-place Curtis Martin, who retired following the 2005 season.
Tomlinson told XX1090 his only motivation to return to the game would be to win his first Super Bowl ring.
Tomlinson was one of a few Jets to attach his name to criticism of Santonio Holmes after the wide receiver was benched in the final minutes of the team's season-ending loss to the Dolphins.
"[There] were some great times this year even through all that," Tomlinson said. "We had some great times together, but I just think after 11 years of battling, getting close, and not getting it done, it's hard for me to start over on that journey again. It's going to be hard."