L.J. doesn’t deserve another chance
I’m a second-chance kind of guy.
Michael Vick fights, beats, electrocutes and kills dogs? Give him a second chance. Ray Lewis is accused of murder (and pleads guilty to a lesser charge)? Give him a second chance — if only so I can see him do that dance one more time. Matt Millen methodically runs the Detroit Lions into the ground before getting fired? Give him a second chance — at least as a TV analyst.
Larry Johnson has repeated run-ins with the law? Shows no respect for the fans or his coaches, despite making millions of dollars a year? Is constantly moody, arrogant and un-coachable? That’s where I draw the line.
I am, to a fault, a Kansas City Chiefs fan. Still, I never fully embraced Johnson, who was drafted by the Chiefs in 2003 after shredding defenses at Penn State. He always had this smug sensibility about him that I never accepted. Sure, he was a terrific football player. I still remember his back-to-back 1,700-plus-yard seasons in 2005 and 2006. But it was everything else about him that irked me.
Here’s a timeline of some of the more memorable and forgettable events in Johnson’s career (keep in mind he’s only 29; he has much more time to add to this list):
April 26, 2003 — The Chiefs draft Johnson with the 27th overall pick.
Dec. 5, 2003 — Johnson is charged with aggravated assault and battery after allegedly slapping his girlfriend and brandishing a gun during an argument with her.
Sept. 21, 2004 — The running back, who has been squabbling about his lack of playing time, is told to “take the diaper off and go play” by Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil.
Sept. 22, 2004 — Johnson responds to his coach’s comments by saying, “If the man can't say something in my face, that’s how I feel. It don't mean nothing to me.” (Remember this statement later. The irony will kill you.)
Sept. 10, 2005 — Early on a Saturday morning, Johnson allegedly gets into an altercation with his then-girlfriend at a Kansas City bar. His girlfriend reportedly is upset after seeing him on what appears to be a date with another woman. Johnson allegedly drags his girlfriend to the door of the bar and asks the manager to kick her out. According to the Associated Press, “Johnson became irate after his girlfriend confronted his date. The running back grabbed the victim by the shoulders and shoved her, causing her to fall onto the floor, the police report said.” He’s arrested two days later.
Sept. 11, 2005 — The running back runs for 110 yards and two touchdowns on only nine carries in Week 1 against the Jets. It’s the beginning of his first Pro Bowl season.
Jan. 18, 2006 — The assault charge is dropped after his former girlfriend fails to show up in court for the third consecutive time.
Dec. 31, 2006 — Johnson carries the ball 33 times for 138 yards and three touchdowns against the Jaguars to finish off another Pro Bowl year. He completes the 2006 season with 416 rushes. Through the next 2