I have to admit had me laughing on this one.
CARL VS. L.J. IS NEXT BATTLE ROYALE
With Jared Allen eating sushi and promising to lead a wilí-out-free social life, and Trent Green packing his footballs and heading to a South Florida home, thereís only one compelling story line left in the latest episode of ďThe Last King of Mediocrity.Ē
Carl Peterson vs. Larry Johnson.
Yes, the main event: King Carl vs. L.J. for all the money in Clark Huntís piggybank. This should be far better than De la Hoya-Mayweather, and if the executives running HBO were smart, theyíd do a 24/7 documentary on this historic battle rather than taping Kansas Cityís training camp.
This is a showdown that has been brewing ever since King Carl hoodwinked Johnson and his agent into signing that ridiculous, Master P-approved rookie contract. This thing should get UFC bloody and ugly.
Before the end of training camp, I fully expect Petersonís pit bull/mouthpiece Bob Gretz and Johnsonís pit bull/mouthpiece Rhonda Moss to square off in a dogfight that will have Michael ďRon CujoĒ Vick flush with envy.
Seriously, Iím so glad Trent Green is finally gone. Bickering over the value and treatment of a filthy-rich, 37-year-old quarterback was a bit boring for my taste, especially when you know Peterson could just as easily botch a fourth-round pick as a sixth.
The Green-Peterson scrap sounded like a Leawood father and son arguing over whether the kid deserves the fully loaded SUV or the sport package. Peterson-Johnson has the promise of getting as rowdy as me and my brother coming to blows over the last pork chop at a Labor Day barbecue.
Right now, my money is on The Last King of Mediocrity.
Heís been in the gym training for this bout ever since Priest Holmes bamboozled the Chiefs out of a final payday and quickly retired to a life of nachos, yearly, inconclusive MRI scans on his spine and babyís mama drama.
King Carl vowed never again. Only Tony Gonzalez and Tom Condon are allowed to fleece the Huntís bank account under Petersonís watch. Peterson would rather name Ethan Locke head coach and put Jack Harry in charge of ticket prices than reward Larry Johnson with LaDainian Tomlinson-type money.
And, in many respects, Peterson is holding all of the leverage. Peterson gleefully watched as his new head coach, Herm Edwards, overworked Johnson all last season, giving him an NFL record number of carries. Edwards used Johnson in a way that indicated the Chiefs donít have long-term plans for Johnson.
Peterson could refuse to offer Johnson a fair contract extension, run L.J. into the ground again this season, slap the franchise tag on him for the 2008 season and discard Johnson in 2009.
That would be the cold-blooded business move. Based on the way Johnson has conducted himself in his years as a Chief, Iím not sure many fans would be sympathetic toward Johnson. He has never pretended to be much of a team guy, so few people will care if the Chiefs treat Johnson in a selfish manner.
Johnsonís leverage is a 2007 holdout. Heís on the books to earn about $1.7 million this year. If he sits out and sacrifices the money, the Chiefs could be the 2006 Oakland Raiders. Those Raiders, despite a very good defense, finished 2-14 and scored just 168 points. They were darn near impossible to watch.
The Chiefs could be that bad. Without Johnson, I honestly donít know how the Chiefs score a point. By midseason, Arrowhead Stadium would be half empty on game day. By the end of the season, youíd swear the Royals were playing football.
And L.J.ís absence would certainly hamper the development of Brodie Croyle.
The problem for Johnson is that The Last King of Mediocrity could survive a 2-14 season. With Green in Miami and the Chiefs breaking in a new quarterback, Peterson could use 2-14 as a true rebuilding year, and Chiefs fans would be excited about having the No. 1 pick (although the enthusiasm would be tempered by the knowledge that Peterson would draft Todd Blackledge).
Again, Peterson is bunkered in and ready for a losing season. Johnson is not prepared to sacrifice $1.7 million. Thatís money heíll never get back. Plus, heíll be a year older and still looking for a new contract.
Peterson is a heavy favorite in this fight, but weíve seen him blow 13-3 regular seasons and home-field advantage, so anything is a possibility.