More from the world of
Itís too late now. Larry Johnson got his guaranteed millions, a hefty new contract that bought him the freedom to pout and behave selfishly at his own discretion.
He arrived at Sundayís game in a black, chauffeured Maybach 62, one of the worldís 10 most expensive cars, priced at $350,000-plus, Mercedes Benzís answer to the Rolls-Royce, a vehicle intended for mega-celebrities in major cities and the filthy rich.
We know now how Larry plans to handle his newfound wealth and responsibility ó poorly.
We know now how he plans to repay the Kansas City football fans, teammates, coaches, front-office executives and representatives of the media who chose to overlook his immaturity and support him ó heís going to make us look like fools.
Sundayís game with the Bengals was it for me. Iíve given up on Larry Johnson.
He is what he is ó the guy who declined to pass-block in Dallas in 2005, the guy some Chiefs players swore would become a deadly locker-room cancer when armed with a huge signing bonus, the guy Dick Vermeil claimed wore diapers, the guy who spiked the ball for no reason with 4 minutes to play in Sundayís game.
I could go on. We all have a Larry Johnson story. Remember when he stated on HBO that black players preferred playing for black coaches because they know what itís like to be a young black athlete?
Yeah, I thought about that comment Sunday when the Chiefs were trying to climb into first place in the AFC West, the Bengals were trying to dig out of an AFC Central hole, and Larry Johnson was throwing the ball in anger and Cincinnatiís Chad Johnson was refusing to finish a pass route, which led to a critical interception.
Johnson and Johnson, two of the most selfish and buffoonish players in the NFL. I could see whatís happening in Cincinnati ó Marvin Lewis has lost control of his football team because he and the organization tolerated Ocho Cincoís bojanglery for too long ó happening in Kansas City.
Herm Edwards is in the process of getting sold out by the running back who likes to pretend that heís down for the cause.
Well, now we know what Larryís cause is ó Larry Johnson. All season heís carried himself as if his 52 teammates donít care about winning, as if the coaching staff wants to run for 10 yards, as if he could double as offensive coordinator.
Why not master the art of being a complete running back before demanding Mike Solariís job? On Sunday Johnson had a careless goal-line fumble and whiffed on at least one pass block that got Damon Huard creamed.
No one threw a sideline tantrum or tried to show Larry up. His teammates moved on. They gave Larry respect. With each selfish act that respect is evaporating. His late-game spike of frustration cost the Chiefs 5 yards, stopped the game clock and could have easily cost the Chiefs the game.
His poisonous attitude is beginning to take root in the locker room. I blame cornerback Benny Sappís meltdown partially on Larry Johnson. When your highest-paid, highest-profile player is constantly brooding and acting unprofessionally in full public view, itís not surprising when other players join in.
Look at the 1-4 Bengals and Marvin Lewis; they were darlings of the league just a couple of seasons ago. Everyone loved Chad Johnsonís look-at-me buffoonery, and Lewis pretended that Johnsonís antics had no impact on team chemistry. Locker-room disputes between Johnson and members of the Cincinnati coaching staff were all explained away as baseless rumors.
Does any of this sound familiar? Did Herm Edwards not open a postgame news conference this season explaining away the ďfrustrated emotionsĒ of his players after an on-field tirade by Larry Johnson and Damon Huard and an alleged halftime locker-room tirade by several players?
At some point, Edwards and Carl Peterson are going to have to take a united stand against Johnsonís behavior. The Patriots and the Colts are the two best franchises in the league over the last five or six years. Yes, theyíre blessed with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. But the organizations are also smothered in a team-first attitude.
Obviously, giving Johnson a huge contract was a mistake, one that I canít blame Peterson for making. What do the Chiefs do from here?
The next time LJ acts up, Iíd deactivate him for the following game. Sure, you risk alienating him, losing him mentally and emotionally. But thatís already taking place. Johnson has backed the Chiefs into a corner. Edwards and Peterson might as well fight back and gain respect from the 52 other players in the locker room.