The Kansas City Chiefs said goodbye to the once-dominant runner after his gay slurs on Twitter, ripping his coach. But should someone take a shot and sign him, and if so, who?

November 12, 2009

Yes, but who'd want him?
Sam Farmer

Los Angeles Times

If you're going to say that everybody who acts like an idiot should be denied the right to play, you wouldn't be able to field one team, let alone 32. The question is, which teams are so desperate to generate a ground attack that they're willing to take a moody sulker whose skills are clearly on the slide?

(Then again, a year ago, the same could be said of Cedric Benson, and now he's the league's second-leading rusher.)

Last season, for instance, one woman accused Johnson of throwing a drink at her, and another said he pushed her head. As bad as those things sound, they don't warrant kicking him out of the league.

But the sentiment of a lot of Chiefs fans should tell you something: He's somebody else's problem now.


Punishment: Cleveland
Ken Murray

Baltimore Sun

Obviously, Michael Vick got a second chance, so Larry Johnson deserves one too. But not without stipulations. Johnson needs a sensitivity class to start with. He needs to learn that it's the media's job to ask questions. He needs to learn some humility and some respect. Furthermore, he needs to learn to act like a professional, a problem he's had throughout his career, if not his life.

If Vick needed to show remorse, the same should hold true for Johnson, especially since this isn't his first time making these incendiary remarks. When things aren't going well, he dismisses everything, including civility.

Who might take him? His image matches the Raiders. But the team that probably could use him most is the Browns, who have a way-past-his-prime Jamal Lewis to carry the load. But Johnson should sit for a while.


Is he worth the trouble?
Dan Pompei

Chicago Tribune

The problem with Larry Johnson is he might not be worth the trouble.

If he were the running back who had back-to-back 1,700-yard rushing seasons in 2005-2006, he would be worth the trouble. But he has not been close to being one of the best backs in the league in the last three seasons. This year, he is averaging 2.7 yards per carry.

His history suggests he could create problems in the locker room and in the community, as Johnson has been critical of his coach, been arrested four times and has a history of being abusive toward women. Some team will take a chance on Johnson because he has so much talent.

But he's not for everybody. He would make a good Raider, now wouldn't he?


He'll get one; not worth it
Ethan Skolnick

Sun Sentinel

The question itself speaks to how much the public overvalues running backs. Should Larry Johnson get another chance? The NFL's problem children always do.

Some contender may suffer an injury at the position before season's end. And some teams, like the Eagles and Colts, could use a power running complement. But the odds are against Johnson making much more of an impact than Edgerrin James did in Seattle or Shaun Alexander did in Washington.

Runners slip quickly. And, in most cases, they were never as good as we thought. Running backs are interchangeable, and most are products of their offensive lines. Johnson got to run through huge holes in Kansas City, and when they shrank, he started digging one for himself.


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