Aug. 12, 2007) -- Based on contact talks in recent days, the Kansas City Chiefs and running back Larry Johnson are bridging their differences and getting closer to a long-term contract extension.
The two sides have engaged in serious contract talks in recent days, making considerable progress as recently as Aug. 11, and further talks will take place in the coming days aimed at ending Johnson's holdout.
But the tone between the two sides is markedly different than it was a month ago, before training camp kicked off. Both sides have become more realistic in their demands, both recognize how important it is to get a deal done before the season, and both sides think they can put aside their differences and strike a deal.
It is the first time in a long time that there's a reason to be optimistic. However, it also should be noted that negotiations are at a critical stage, where contract talks could result in a final breakthrough or a signifcant setback.
Working to the advantage of both sides is the track record of Chiefs president Carl Peterson. When deals are getting close, Peterson has a history of getting them done. Both sides are hoping the same will happen now, with the Chiefs getting back the running back they need and Johnson landing the long-term contract he has craved.
Johnson has been a holdout at training camp as he seeks an extension to the seven-year contract he signed in 2003, a deal in which the final two years can be voided after the final game of the 2007 season because of playing time incentives. Johnson is scheduled to earn $1.7 million this season, and is being fined more than $14,000 for every day he misses.
The 27-year-old Johnson rushed for 1,789 yards and 17 touchdowns on an NFL record 416 carries in 2006.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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