Friday, November 13, 2009

LJ Out of KC

Coming out of Penn State, Larry Johnson was a highly touted running back, and was drafted in the 1st round with the 27th pick, in the 2003 draft, by the Kansas City Chiefs.

In his 7 year NFL career, Johnson has rushed for over 1,000 yards in only two seasons, 2005 and 2006 (seasons in which the Chiefs had the best offensive line in the NFL). Since then, he's failed to play a full season, missing games due to either injuries or suspension.

This week he was released.

During his time in Kansas City, the Chiefs have only made the playoffs twice (one of those times was in his rookie year when he had no impact) and have an overall record of 45-51. Needless to say Johnson hasn’t been the answer the Chiefs thought he would be.

Unfortunately for Johnson, for now, his NFL career will be remembered more for what he did off the field, instead of on it. The trouble began for the former Penn State running back in his rookie year, when he was charged with aggravated assault and domestic battery.

Since then, Johnson has found himself in trouble with the law numerous times. In 2005, there was an accusation that he punched a woman and then in 2008 another woman accused Johnson of assaulting her.

The running backs history, along with his critical rants of his team, and recent derogatory remarks toward homosexuals, makes you question who would want this kind of man on their team.

At nearly 30, with a history of injuries, you wonder what Johnson has left to offer. While players like Terrell Owens have taken criticism for their, me first attitude, they have not had the legal issues that have followed Johnson throughout his career. Now out of Kansas City, Johnson wants a chance to start over, seemingly with a winning team.

Larry Johnson was frustrated with the losing environment in Kansas City, and who can blame him, but in 2007 Larry Johnson signed an extension knowing the Chief's history and roster. The changes made this off-season, have not translated to wins, but they were changes to better the team in the future. Johnson's getting older, and maybe he didn't want to wait for the rebuilding to be complete. Whatever his reason, the tactics used by the running back to get chased out of town, showed a lack of maturity and professionalism.

I'm sure some team will take a chance on the troubled back but I wish they wouldn't. Larry Johnson isn't looking for a second chance, he's already had that. This is a man who's been in constant trouble since he entered the league and has never shown any remorse for his actions or any inclination he wants to change.

Johnson had the chance of a lifetime, to be paid a ridiculous amount of money to play a game, but he didn't respect the game, his team, or himself. Now unemployed, the running back must convince a team that he's learned his lesson, and is now ready to be a team player. If Johnson is able to do that, he may have found his second career, acting.

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