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Tomlinson could be in for a class project

January 16, 2007|Sam Farmer | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — LaDainian Tomlinson was so enraged by the taunting postgame celebrations of the New England players after Sunday's game, he questioned the class of Patriots Coach Bill Belichick.

That's fine, except that Tomlinson soon could be one of Belichick's players.

Should the Patriots lose to Indianapolis in the conference championship game, New England's staff will coach the AFC squad in the Pro Bowl. Tomlinson and eight of his teammates are on that team.

"I thought about that too," Tomlinson said Monday, easing into a smile. "It will be pretty interesting. I don't know how that will go over."

Tomlinson, who is typically easygoing, briefly had to be restrained in the moments after the game when he saw Patriots mimicking Shawne Merriman's "Lights Out" dance at midfield. Although there were several players taunting -- and The Times reported one of them, defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, was the target of Tomlinson's ire -- the running back said he was actually going after cornerback Ellis Hobbs.

"I wasn't going to go and do anything crazy, but I was just going to go over and tell the guy, 'Don't disrespect us on our field. You guys won the game. Congratulations,' " Tomlinson said. "I think the Patriot guys kind of blew it up a little bit more by holding me back like I was going to attack the guy."

He said once Hobbs saw his reaction "he just shook his head like I was right, because he knew it was wrong."

But Hobbs didn't sound contrite Monday when he told Sporting News Radio: "You're trying to tell us we don't have a lot of class after a victory where we're emotional and happy and celebrating -- doesn't matter where on the field we're celebrating. But here's a team that's already got their Super Bowl parade ready.

"We get word that they've got scouts at the NFC game worried about those players, not even worried about us, but also not worrying about the AFC championship."

Hobbs added the San Diego fans were "spitting at us, they're throwing stuff, the fans are giving us the finger, they're chanting, 'We want Indy!' ... And it all just backfired in their face."

sam.farmer@latimes.com

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