The LJ Watch BeginsNovember 8th, 2009 by Lee Eldridge
Larry Johnson’s suspension ends tonight and he’s eligible to return to the Chiefs on Monday. The Chiefs have only a few choices at this point:
1. Cut him and get it over with. This is the choice that would make many Chiefs fans happy. The Chiefs would be on the hook for a significant portion of his remaining salary.
2. Sit him on the bench. Inactivate him and let him brood. LJ would lose a portion of his salary for not being active for games. I’ve heard a number of fans recommend this, but I just don’t see why you’d keep him on the roster if you have no intention to play him. He’s bad enough in the locker room when he’s on good behavior. Though this might be the most entertaining of the options.
3. Make LJ take the diaper off and let him play.
What makes this difficult for the Chiefs is that you can’t go around cutting every player who doesn’t like their coach. While LJ’s homophobic slurs were in bad taste and inappropriate, I have to admit he shouldn’t get fired for them. His comments about Haley were stupid, but the Chiefs are bad because of their lack of talent, not because their head coach played golf in college.
But what you CAN cut LJ for is the overall big picture. He’s been given multiple chances and continues to make these mistakes off the field. He’s not the kind of guy you build a team around. He’s immature. He’s almost 30. And more than anything, he no longer produces for the team. Johnson has gotten plenty of opportunities. He’s carried the ball 132 times for only 358 yards. That’s a paltry 2.7 yards per carry. And no TDs.
Jamaal Charles carried the ball 6 times for 36 yards today. I’m not a mathemtician, but that’s 6 yards per carry. For the season, Charles has averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Compare that to LJ’s 2.7 yards per carry, and it’s difficult to imagine how Johnson makes the Chiefs a better team. I understand it’s a small sampling, and Charles will likely be less productive if he carries the ball 20 times per game. But like most Chiefs fans, I say give him a chance. There are a lot of backs who were pigionholed as third down backs who couldn’t carry the load. Priest Holmes. Maurice Jones-Drew. Chris Johnson. Warrick Dunn. I say give Charles a shot.