The Kansas City Chiefs released RB Larry Johnson just 74 yards shy of breaking the team’s all-time rushing record. The player that owns that record, Priest Holmes, spoke with Randy Covitz about the record and LJ’s future.
“Breaking records is part of football,” Holmes said Monday from the offices of his Priest Holmes Foundation in San Antonio. “The goal is always to break that record. But to see how fans rallied and petitioned … it’s unbelievable. … I definitely will carry that record in high regard.”
Petitions alone were not why Johnson was released. First-year coach Todd Haley cited “the totality of the situation even before I was around here,” but Holmes cited the backlash by saying, “The power and voices of fans come with a greater volume than most athletes assume.”
Holmes still believes Johnson, who turns 30 on Nov. 19, still has some life in his legs.
“We know time is not on his side anymore,” Holmes said. “Once a running back hits 30, it’s not as if you can do the same things you did at 23, 24. I believe he has something in the tank. But when you go to another team, you have to prove yourself all over again, and not only as an athlete, but what type of person will he come into that team as.”
I didn’t get wrapped up in the record as much as some fans, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t matter at all to me. Someday the record will fall and as Holmes said that’s all part of football. We can only hope the next player to approach the mark isn’t so difficult.
As for LJ still having life in his legs, it would be the final indictment of him if he looks anything like the 2005-06 LJ elsewhere. Almost anywhere he goes will have a better offensive line and you have to take that into account, but this season he never ran with even a sliver of the power we saw from him in his prime.
No matter where Larry Johnson ends up, he will not face any additional penalties from the NFL.
The Chiefs suspended Johnson for two weeks, one week without pay, for his remarks and criticisms of coach Todd Haley and released him on Monday.
According to NFL senior vice-president Greg Aiello, that was sufficient.
“The club took disciplinary action in this matter,and we determined it was appropriate.”
If you asked me — and I realize no one is — I would sit him down for the rest of the season. But I realize that’s not logical. He missed one game already and even if he ends up with a new team quickly will be off the field this week. Considering how lightly the league has come down on players in the past (though Roger Goodell has done a much better job), a three week ban has to be acceptable.
When the Chiefs head to Oakland on Sunday, they will have to keep track of a Raiders starting wide receiver that is finally hitting the field in 2009.
Chaz Schilens missed the first eight games of the season while recovering from a broken bone in his left foot that he suffered Aug. 18. Initially, he targeted the second game for his 2009 debut, but his foot proved slow to heal after surgery.
“I’m confident,” said Schilens, who participated fully in Monday’s practice. “We’ll see in practice, but I’ll be good this week… It’s not 100 percent like I’d like it to be, but I’ve just got to work through it.”
Schilens was the projected No. 1 receiver entering training camp. His play in camp and Oakland’s first exhibition game validated his status. He caught five passes in one quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in the Raiders’ first exhibition game.
Oakland wide receivers have combined for only 28 receptions for 373 yards and one touchdown in eight games.
The Raiders are one of the few teams with an offense that has been worse than the Chiefs and I can’t imagine that is going to change this week. The last time these teams got together, Oakland racked up a whopping 166 yards and as much as I like Schilens’ potential, he isn’t a difference maker yet.
Even if he was a big time player, would JaMarcus Russell be able to get him the ball?