On Tuesday, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley decided to end practice two days earlier than planned. The question entering training camp is just how much the team accomplished during their offseason workouts. This morning Bob Gretz looks at five things the Chiefs got done, including the rehabilitation of Larry Johnson.
Just consider where the situation was with LJ at the start of the year. He wanted out of town. He was facing a pair of assault charges. The NFL Players Association had a grievance filed against the Chiefs over guaranteed payouts from Johnson’s contract. With Carl Peterson gone, Johnson did not have a friend in the organization. There was a new sheriff in town, and everyone, and I mean everyone figured LJ was as good as gone.
But as the Chiefs headed off to vacation, Johnson is still part of the Chiefs. In fact, he’s likely going to be a very big part of the team’s offense in the coming season. I say likely because with LJ things can never be said and then written into concrete. His history means anything is possible.
But it didn’t take Haley and his staff long to realize what they had when they saw a motivated and in shape Johnson run the ball during practices. Now, whether LJ is ready to be a complete back (catching the ball and blocking as well) remains to be seen. During the OTAs, he ran some nice pass routes, getting away from coverage with his moves rather than his power.
Johnson knows the only place he’s going to make big money in the NFL is right here with the Chiefs. The team’s salary cap situation is such that they do not need to try and bring down his cap number this season. LJ is motivated, in shape and the next six weeks are critical. If he stays out of trouble, continues working to maintain his conditioning and gets through to the start of the regular season without injury, he’s headed for a big year.
You can count me among those that never thought Larry Johnson would stick around with the Chiefs. It just wasn’t going to happen. And then it was. Like Gretz says, anything is possible with LJ but by all accounts he’s been a perfect citizen this offseason. I still have an issue with him leaving a practice to party in Vegas, but clearly I was in the minority there and at the end of the day if Haley and Scott Pioli didn’t have a problem with it, then that’s all that matters. If Johnson does commit himself to blocking and proves he can catch the ball consistently out of the backfield, he will be a huge part of this offense. Be sure to check out the whole list of things the Chiefs got done this offseason over at Bob’s site.
Former Chiefs second round pick Junior Siavii has resurfaced, this time with the Dallas Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys have no proven commodity at nose tackle behind Jay Ratliff, so Siavii will get a long look in camp. He is the team’s best shot at backing up Ratliff. AT 6-5/320, Siavii has the ideal frame for a 3-4 nose tackle, the question is whether he can be effective with that frame.
Siavii spend a pair of seasons with Kansas City after being drafted in the second round of the 2004 draft. He was out of football in 2006 and 2007. Last season he spent some times with the Cowboys, was injured and then spent more time looking for work.
“I got nine tryouts, but at my position nobody went down. It’s hard to get a job if nobody gets hurt. I wish nobody gets hurt in this league, but sometimes that’s how it works to get a job.”
He had some different options during the off-season, but he chose the Cowboys because he has a decent shot at playing time.
“The 3-4 defense is a better fit for me.”
Hmm, funny that one of the biggest draft busts in recent Chiefs history would be a better fit now than he was when the team first drafted him. Though after watching Siavii (try to) play over two seasons, I think his lack of talent had more to do with him not being able to find a job last season than any lack of injuries at the position. Good luck with that, Dallas.
University of Kansas coaches and players joined hundreds of people yesterday to pay tribute to former KU athletic director Bob Frederick.
The guests, all standing, filled the well-adorned performing arts center with the haunting sounds of the University of Kansas alma mater song. A rousing chant of “Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk” was next, followed by a cheer better suited for nearby Allen Fieldhouse. Not exactly the sounds you’d expect to hear at a memorial service, but a perfect punctuation for the celebration of Bob Frederick’s life.
Frederick, KU’s athletic director from 1987-2001, died in a Kansas City, Kan., hospital on Friday, a day after being thrown over the handlebars in a bicycling accident in Lawrence. He was 69.
His oldest son, Brad, joked that he wasn’t sure how many people would show up for the public memorial service.
He didn’t have to worry.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams, who got his start at Kansas thanks to Frederick, sat in one of the first few rows, not far from former Jayhawks player Wayne Simien. Current men’s basketball coach Bill Self and football coach Mark Mangino also were there, along with former KU athletic director Gene Budig, who hired Frederick. Former Jayhawks football coach Glen Mason and former Kansas City Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson also attended.
Frederick was one of the most influential men in the history of the University of Kansas. And lets not forget that he helped to create the Big 12 conference. Overall a fitting tribute for a great man.