LaDainian Tomlinson gives powerful speech about unity in Pro Football Hall of Fame induction

As LaDainian Tomlinson delivered a rousing speech during his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame over the weekend, he had a much bigger theme than just football on his mind.

The former San Diego Chargers star dedicated the last six minutes of his 26-minute speech to a message of unity in a country fractured by politics, race and religion.

He began by telling the story of his great-great-great grandfather, George Tomlinson, a slave who came to America on a ship from West Africa 170 years ago. Tomlinson was the last name of his slave owner.

"On America's team, let's not choose to be against one another," he said. "Let's choose to be for one another. My great-great-great grandfather had no choice. We have one. I pray we dedicate ourselves to being the best team we can be, working and living together, representing the highest ideals of mankind. Leading the way for all nations to follow."

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32. New York Jets

Last season: 5-11, fourth in AFC East

Biggest acquisitions: Singed QB Josh McCown; drafted S Jamal Adams

Biggest losses: CB Darrelle Revis, WR Brandon Marshall, WR Eric Decker, C Nick Mangold

Super Bowl odds: 200/1

One thing to know: While there's not much hope for them to succeed on any real level this season, the Jets will offer one of the more compelling quarterback competitions in training camp, with Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg, and Bryce Petty all competing for the starting job.

(Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)

31. Cleveland Browns

Last season: 1-15, fourth in AFC North

Biggest acquisitions: Traded for QB Brock Osweiler; signed G Kevin Zeitler, WR Kenny Britt; drafted DE Myles Garrett with the No. 1 pick, S Jabrill Peppers, TE David Njoku, QB DeShone Kizer

Biggest losses: QB Josh McCown, QB Robert Griffin III, WR Terrelle Pryor, TE Gary Barnidge

Super Bowl odds: 300/1

One thing to know: The Browns appear to still be looking for a long-term answer at quarterback, but after a draft in which they had ten draft picks and acquired more, they're finally putting together an intriguing core to start a rebuild.

(Photo by: 2017 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
30. Los Angeles Rams

Last season: 4-12, third in NFC West

Biggest acquisitions: Hired Sean McVay as head coach, Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator; exercised franchise option on DL Aaron Donald; signed Connor Barwin

Biggest losses: C Tim Barnes, WR Kenny Britt, S T.J. McDonald

Super Bowl odds: 80/1

One thing to know: Hired at just 30 years of age, Sean McVay is the youngest head coach in NFL history. Together with veteran defensive stalwart Wade Phillips, it will be interesting to see what these two form out of Jeff Fisher's former team.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

29. San Francisco 49ers

Last season: 2-14, last NFC West

Biggest acquisitions: Hired Kyle Shanahan as head coach, GM John Lynch; drafted DL Solomon Thomas, LB Reuben Foster; signed QB Brian Hoyer, WR Pierre Garcon, RB Tim Hightower

Biggest losses: QB Colin Kaepernick, WR Torrey Smith, K Phil Dawson

Super Bowl odds: 300/1

One thing to know: A new era in San Francisco kicked off on draft night when the 49ers robbed the Chicago Bears of three picks so Chicago could move up one spot to draft Mitchell Trubisky. The 49ers had a solid draft and quiet free agency; they'll likely struggle again in 2017, especially without a franchise quarterback, but they're heading in the right direction.

(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

28. Chicago Bears

Last season: 3-13, fourth in NFC North

Biggest acquisitions: Signed WR Victor Cruz, WR Kendall Wright, WR Markus Wheaton, QB Mike Glennon; drafted QB Mitch Trubisky

Biggest losses: QB Jay Cutler, DB Tracy Porter, WR Alshon Jeffery, WR Eddie Royal, QB Brian Hoyer

Super Bowl odds: 100/1

One thing to know: After finally cutting ties with much-maligned quarterback Jay Cutler, the Bears seemed to make a clear move toward the future in drafting Mitch Trubisky with the second overall pick in the draft. But the question remains — will he be ready to suit up Week 1? Or would the Bears prefer to protect their asset until he's fully ready for the league?

(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
27. Cincinnati Bengals

Last season: 6-9-1, third in AFC North

Biggest acquisitions: Drafted WR John Ross, RB Joe Mixon

Biggest losses: G Kevin Zeitler, T Andrew Whitworth, LB Karlos Dansby

Super Bowl odds: 60/1

One thing to know: It's been a less-than-ideal offseason for the Bengals, who saw two of their best offensive linemen leave in free agency, then received some criticism for drafting Joe Mixon. On the positive side, they got help for Andy Dalton and A.J. Green in the form of speedy receiver John Ross.

(Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
26. Buffalo Bills

Last season: 7-9, third in AFC East

Biggest acquisitions: Hired Sean McDermott as head coach; signed WR Rod Streater, K Stephen Hauschka; drafted CB Tre'Davious White, OT Dion Dawkins

Biggest losses: RB Mike Gillislee, S Aaron Williams, CB Stephon Gilmore, WR Robert Woods

Super Bowl odds: 100/1

One thing to know: With Sean McDermott at the helm, there's a chance the Bills defense takes a big step forward this season. And with an offense full of talents including LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins, the Bills could surprise with a few impressive wins this year.

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
25. Jacksonville Jaguars

Last season: 3-13, fourth in AFC South

Biggest acquisitions: Hired Tom Coughlin; signed CB A.J. Bouye, DE Calais Campbell, S Barry Church; drafted RB Leonard Fournette

Biggest losses: G Luke Joeckel, OT Kelvin Beachum, CB Prince Amukamara, TE Julius Thomas

Super Bowl odds: 80/1

One thing to know: The Jaguars once again spent big to fortify what looks like an impressive defense on paper while taking an early swing on Leonard Fournette to be their powerhouse back. Of course, any improvements from a flashy roster all depend on Blake Bortles looking, well, competent.

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

24. Los Angeles Chargers

Last season: 5-11, fourth in AFC West

Biggest acquisitions: Signed OT Russell Okung; drafted WR Mike Williams, G Dan Feeney

Biggest losses: LB Manti Te'o, OT King Dunlap, RB Danny Woodhead, the city of San Diego

Super Bowl odds: 60/1

One thing to know: The Chargers will call the 30,000 capacity StubHub Center home for their first three seasons in Los Angeles as their real home field gets built. If the Chargers are able to put together some sort of run, meaningful games combined with the intimate setting could create something electric.

(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

23. Washington Redsksins

Last season: 8-7-1, third in NFC East

Biggest acquisitions: Signed WR Terrelle Pryor, drafted DL Jonathan Allen

Biggest losses: GM Scot McCloughan, WR DeSean Jackson, WR Pierre Garçon​

Super Bowl odds: 60/1

One thing to know: The fifth-ranked offense in 2016 let its two best wide receivers walk in free agency, replacing them only with Pryor, who had a big season in Cleveland in 2016. It's unclear where the offensive and defensive improvements will come from, and the Kirk Cousins contract negotiations could linger over the team in 2017.

(Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
22. Indianapolis Colts

Last season: 8-8, third in AFC South

Biggest acquisitions: Signed OLB Barkevious Mingo, LB Jabaal Sheard; drafted S Malik Hooker

Biggest losses: TE Dwayne Allen, LB D’Qwell Jackson, S Mike Adams

Super Bowl odds: 30/1

One thing to know: Despite a quiet third place finish in the AFC South last year, Andrew Luck had another great season throwing the football, putting up numbers not dissimilar from Derek Carr who was floated as an MVP candidate for a while. The Colts have a lot of work to do at other positions, but protecting Luck should be at the top of that list — he's the most valuable asset the franchise has by a mile.

(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
21. Carolina Panthers

Last season: 6-10, fourth in NFC South

Biggest acquisitions: Signed LB Julius Peppers, drafted RB Christian McCaffrey 

Biggest losses: GM Dave Gettleman, WR Ted Ginn Jr.

Super Bowl odds: 25/1

One thing to know: One year after a near-perfect season that led to a Super Bowl loss, the Panthers slipped early in the 2016 season and never recovered. McCaffrey figures to be a big help in the back-field for Cam Newton, but as always, the biggest priority is keeping Newton healthy. In a strong NFC South, the Panthers may have a hard time making the postseason, even with a bounce-back year.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

20. New Orleans Saints

Last season: 7-9, third in NFC South

Biggest acquisitions: Signed RB Adrian Peterson, LB Manti Te'o, WR Ted Ginn Jr.; drafted CB Marshon Lattimore, OT Ryan Ramczyk

Biggest losses: WR Brandin Cooks, RB Tim Hightower, DT Nick Fairley out for season with heart problem

Super Bowl odds: 40/1

One thing to know: Drew Brees has been one of the most impressively consistent quarterbacks of his generation, even as the tools around him change. If Adrian Peterson can show glimpses of his past self, this will be an offense that is tough to contain.

(Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

19. Baltimore Ravens

Last season: 8-8, second in AFC North

Biggest acquisitions: Signed WR Jeremy Maclin, S Tony Jefferson, CB Brandon Carr; drafted CB Marlon Humphrey

Biggest losses: OT Ricky Wagner, LB Elvis Dumervil

Super Bowl odds: 30/1

One thing to know: Adding Jeremy Maclin gives Joe Flacco a long-missing weapon, while the additions of Jefferson and Humphrey could tighten up a secondary that was already tenth in pass defense.

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
18. Philadelphia Eagles

Last season: 7-9, fourth in NFC East

Biggest acquisitions: Signed WR Alshon Jeffrey, WR Torrey Smith, RB LaGarrette Blount, DE Chris Long

Biggest losses: DE Connor Barwin, NT Bennie Logan, CB Nolan Carroll

Super Bowl odds: 35/1

One thing to know: In his second year under center, Carson Wentz will be hoping to take huge steps forward and prove he's the franchise quarterback the Eagles drafted him to be. With the addition of Jeffrey and Smith, Wentz will start the year playing with the two most talented receivers he's ever had. If the trio can get into a rhythm, they could become one of the more devastating passing forces in the league.

(Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
17. Detroit Lions

Last season: 9-7, second in NFC North

Biggest acquisitions: Signed G T.J. Lang, RT Rick Wagner; drafted LB Jarrad Davis 

Biggest losses: LB DeAndre Levy, WR Anquan Boldin, G Larry Warford, T Riley Reiff

Super Bowl odds: 40/1

One thing to know: After a strong season from Matthew Stafford and a late playoff push, the Lions spent the offseason fortifying their offensive line and solidifying their defense. If Stafford can repeat his 2016 season, the Lions may once again be breathing down the Packers' necks in the NFC North.

(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
16. Houston Texans

Last season: 9-7, first in AFC South

Biggest acquisitions: Drafted QB Deshaun Watson

Biggest losses: QB Brock Osweiler, CB A.J. Bouye, S Quintin Demps

Super Bowl odds: 30/1

One thing to know: The AFC South might be one of the most hotly contested division races this year. The Texans are reigning champions, are upgrading at quarterback, and will be getting their best player back on the field when J.J. Watt returns to lead the defense, but it still might not be enough to retain their title with both the Titans and Jaguars looking to make a jump this year.

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
15. Arizona Cardinals

Last season: 7-8-1, second in NFC West

Biggest acquisitions: Signed LB Karlos Dansby, K Phil Dawson; drafted LB Haason Reddick

Biggest losses: DE Calais Campbell, S Tony Jefferson, TE Darren Fells

Super Bowl odds: 25/1

One thing to know: With so much talent on both the offensive and defensive side, the bet here is with Bruce Arians at the helm the Cardinals rebound in 2017 and look closer to their 2015 selves. 

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
14. Denver Broncos

Last season: 9-7, third in AFC West

Biggest acquisitions: Signed NT Domato Peko; drafted OT Garrett Bolles

Biggest losses:  LB DeMarcus Ware, OT Russell Okung, Head coach Gary Kubiak resigned for health reasons

Super Bowl odds: 30/1

One thing to know: After Gary Kubiak gave up his position as head coach, the Broncos turned to Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph to take the reins of the team. After a stint as defensive backs coach at Colorado, Joseph jumped to the NFL where he coached under Wade Phillips for a time before getting hired to take over defensive duties in Miami. It'll be interesting to watch as he handles the new responsibilities at Mile High.

(Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

13. Minnesota Vikings

Last season: 8-8, third in NFC North

Biggest acquisitions: Signed RB Latavius Murray, T Riley Reiff, WR Michael Floyd; drafted RB Dalvin Cook

Biggest losses: RB Adrian Peterson, LT Matt Kalil, WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Super Bowl odds: 30/1

One thing to know: After a red-hot 5-0 start, the Vikings went just 3-8 the rest of the way last year. This year, they have viable running back options in Murray and Cook, and better health to their offensive line should push them closer to above .500.

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

12. Miami Dolphins

Last season: 10-6, second in AFC East

Biggest acquisitions: Signed LB Lawrence Timmons, S Nate Allen; traded for TE Julius Thomas; extended DE Cameron Wake

Biggest losses: OT Branden Albert, DE Mario Williams

Super Bowl odds: 40/1

One thing to know: Always the bridesmaids and never the brides of the AFC East, it's easy to forget about the impressive campaign the Dolphins put together last season because of the dominance of the Patriots. With a lot of returning talent and Ryan Tannehill back from knee surgery, this is a young and hungry team that is likely not getting the attention it deserves.

(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

11. Tennessee Titans

Last season: 9-7, second in AFC South

Biggest acquisitions: Signed CB Logan Ryan; drafted WR Corey Davis, CB Adoree’ Jackson

Biggest losses: WR Kendall Wright

Super Bowl odds: 40/1

One thing to know: After a quietly solid 2016, the Titans seem poised for a breakout. Further growth from Marcus Mariota, one of the best offensive lines in the league, talented receiving and running backs corps, and an improving secondary make the Titans our pick to win the AFC South.

(Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last season: 9-7, second in NFC South

Biggest acquisitions: Signed WR DeSean Jackson; drafted TE O.J. Howard, S Justin Evans

Biggest losses: QB Mike Glennon

Super Bowl odds: 25/1

One thing to know: The Bucs fell just short of the playoffs in the competitive NFC South last year. But improvement from Jameis Winston and a now-stacked receiving group that includes Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and O.J. Howard ought to help out a fast and talented defense.

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

9. New York Giants

Last season: 11-5, second in NFC East

Biggest acquisitions: Signed WR Brandon Marshall, drafted TE Evan Engram

Biggest losses: WR Victor Cruz

Super Bowl odds: 20/1

One thing to know: Though there are concerns about the offensive line and run game, the big news for the Giants was adding two weapons in Marshall and Engram to help Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. With an already-stellar defense, the Giants' offense could catch up to speed this year.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

8. Seattle Seahawks

Last season: 10-5-1, first in NFC West

Biggest acquisitions: Signed RB Eddie Lacy, OL Luke Joeckel DE Dion Jordan

Biggest losses: OLB Brock Coyle, OT Garry Gilliam, K Steven Hauschka

Super Bowl odds: 10/1

One thing to know: There's been a bit of buzz that all is not well in the Seahawks locker room, with two team leaders — Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman — reportedly not on the best of terms. Their relationship on the sideline will be one to keep an eye on, especially if their season starts going really well... or really poorly.

(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

7. Green Bay Packers

Last season: 10-6, first in NFC North

Biggest acquisitions: Signed TE Martellus Bennett, G Jahri Evans; drafted CB Kevin King

Biggest losses: G T.J. Lang, RB Eddie Lacy, RB James Starks, TE Jared Cook, LB Julius Peppers

Super Bowl odds: 12/1

One thing to know: The Packers lost a good deal of talent this offseason, but added another weapon for Aaron Rodgers in Bennett and may have gotten a steal at cornerback in King. The team still has needs all over the field, but sometimes, Rodgers is all you need.

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

6. Dallas Cowboys

Last season: 13-3, first in NFC East

Biggest acquisitions: Signed G Jonathan Cooper, CB Nolan Carroll, S Robert Blanton; drafted DE Taco Charlton

Biggest losses: QB Tony Romo, OT Doug Free, CB Brandon Carr

Super Bowl odds: 8/1

One thing to know: With the official departure of Tony Romo, there will be no quarterback controversy this season as Dak Prescott does his best to recreate the magic of his impressive rookie campaign. It will be a different type of pressure on his shoulders this season.

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

5. Kansas City Chiefs

Last season: 12-4, first in AFC West

Biggest acquisitions: Signed DT Bennie Logan, drafted QB Patrick Mahomes

Biggest losses: GM John Dorsey, WR Jeremy Maclin, DT Dontari Poe, RB Jamaal Charles

Super Bowl odds: 25/1

One thing to know: The Chiefs are subtly ushering in a new era without rebuilding, letting go of Maclin and Charles while drafting, presumably, Alex Smith's replacement in Patrick Mahomes. A strong defense and do-enough offense ought to keep the Chiefs firmly in the playoff hunt.

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

Last season: 11-5, first in AFC North

Biggest acquisitions: Signed DE Tyson Alualu, WR Justin Hunter; drafted OLB T.J. Watt

Biggest losses:  LB Lawrence Timmons, RB DeAngelo Williams, RB Karlos Williams

Super Bowl odds: 12/1

One thing to know: Aside from Belichick and Brady, Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger have been the most consistent coach-quarterback combination in the past decade. Together the pair has never posted a losing season and have made the postseason in seven of ten years. No matter the state of football, these two figure out a way to win.

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

3. Oakland Raiders

Last season: 12-4, second in AFC West

Biggest acquisitions: Signed RB Marshawn Lynch, TE Jared Cook, WR Cordarrelle Patterson; drafted CB Gareon Conley

Biggest losses: RB Latavius Murray

Super Bowl odds: 10/1

One thing to know: With Derek Carr's monster extension and Khalil Mack's impending extension, the Raiders are locking in a core that surprised at 12-4 last season and could have made playoff noise if not for Carr's season-ending injury in Week 15. How much Marshawn Lynch, at 31, has left in tank will be a fascinating subplot for a team that has evolved from fun surprise to legitimate contender.

(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

2. Atlanta Falcons

Last season: 11-5, first in NFC South

Biggest acquisitions: Signed DT Dontari Poe, DE Jack Crawford

Biggest losses: DE Dwight Freeney, FB Patrick DiMarco

Super Bowl odds: 16/1

One thing to know: We've seen the Super Bowl hangover hit teams hard, notably with the Carolina Panthers dropping from 15-1 in 2015 to 6-10 last season. Will the Falcons be able to put their devastating loss behind them? If they do, they have all the talent they need to get right back to the big game.

(Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

1. New England Patriots

Last season: 14-2, first in AFC East

Biggest acquisitions: Traded for WR Brandin Cooks, TE Dwayne Allen; signed CB Stephen Gillmore, RB Mike Gillislee

Biggest losses: RB LeGarrette Blount, TE Martellus Bennett, S Jabal Sheard

Super Bowl odds: 3/1

One thing to know: After the greatest Super Bowl comeback in NFL history, the Patriots, perhaps sniffing Tom Brady's mortality, went all-in, getting one of the top cornerbacks on the market in Gillmore, then trading for an elite deep threat in Brandin Cooks. They kept most of their defense together and found a potential LeGarrette Blount in Mike Gillislee (attention, Bills: if the Patriots want your free agent running back, you shouldn't let him go). How good has the Patriots' offseason been? There's already murmurs of a perfect 2017 season.

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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The crowd at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday night gave Tomlinson multiple standing ovations and chanted "LT! LT!" during his speech.

He was one of seven inductees into this year's Hall of Fame class, and he delivered a speech almost as impressive as his moves as a running back during his legendary career from 2001-2011.

"My story is America's story,'' he said. "All our ancestors, unless we are American Indian, came from another country, another culture.

"Football is a microcosm of America. All races, religions, creeds are living, playing, and competing side-by-side. America is the land of opportunity. Let's not slam the door on those who may look and sound different than us. Rather, let's open it wide for those who believe themselves that anything is possible and are willing to compete and take whatever risk necessary to work hard and succeed."

Tomlinson may be done running on a football field, but his speech showed maybe he should now try a different type of running. LT in 2020!

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