Everything in Kansas City the past couple of days has been all Larry, all the time. And the Kansas City Star’s Jason Whitlock thinks that’s a good thing for Scott Pioli and Todd Haley.
Now is not the time to cut Larry Johnson. Pioli could’ve and should’ve done that in February. LJ, pardon the cliche, is what he is. He’s a moody, immature weirdo who pouts when things go poorly and broods when things are going well.
The Chiefs could be 7-0, and there’s still a damn good chance LJ would’ve done something stupid this week to disrupt the team.
I say hold on to Johnson until the end of the season, use him for what he has left to offer. He’s an excuse, a major distraction and a glaring example of Carl Peterson’s ineptitude.
I’m not joking. I’m not being sarcastic.
I wrote at the beginning of the season that Haley made an error releasing Chan Gailey before the start of the season. Kansas City did not have the necessary personnel to field a legitimate offense. It was foolish for Haley to tie his reputation and any of his locker-room credibility to the 2009 offense. I was right.
Now that we’re seven games into this season, Haley and Pioli both need Larry hanging around as a reminder to fans and Clark Hunt that Peterson created this 2009 mess. Larry is a massive billboard who screams: “King Carl Did This.”
I’d keep Larry at starting tailback and make him run the ball 20 times a game. Can you think of a worse punishment? You can’t trade him. You might as well let opposing linebackers light him up 20 times a week.
Carl Peterson had a choice between Larry Johnson and Jared Allen. Peterson decided Allen’s drinking was a bigger risk than Johnson’s mood swings.
If the Chiefs release LJ, the media are going to go back to focusing on Haley and Pioli. We’re going to go back to the 22-guys-off-the-street countdown. Will Haley make it to three victories? Did Pioli’s media tactics and insider trading with his New England homeboys and father-in-law contribute to a winning environment?
My ideal situation for Johnson is to suspend him for as long as possible and then release him. The key is making sure he doesn’t step into the Chiefs locker room ever again after this week. If while keeping him away from Kansas City you can keep him away from other teams in the league at the same time, I’m all for it. But keeping him on the roster as punishment? The only people that would be punished by that would be all of the Chiefs that aren’t homophobic malcontents.
Larry Johnson’s backup, Jamaal Charles, said he doesn’t use Twitter or any other social networking site because he wants to maintain his privacy and avoid the possible distractions.
“I’m staying away from that,” said Charles. “I’m just going out there and playing, I’m not getting caught up in that.”
Does it bother Charles that Haley did not play football in college or the pros as Johnson suggested?
“I’m just going out there and playing football,” said Charles. “I don’t care if Coach Haley ever played football.”
I think we all knew the “he didn’t play the game” garbage would pop up as soon as the Chiefs went through a rough patch. Most people didn’t expect such a bad stretch to come this soon, but it’s here and it really is silly. Is Larry Johnson, Sr. a better coach than Bill Belichick because he played in the pros and Belichick didn’t?
If you can coach, you can coach. Do we know at this point if Haley can be a head coach at this level? No, but his lack of a playing career will not have anything to do with it either way.
If Haley is letting Johnson’s comments put him in a bad mood, you wouldn’t know it from yesterday’s team meeting.
So it’s obvious Haley isn’t losing any sleep over Johnson’s comments. In fact, according to one report, he waltzed into KC’s team meeting Monday with a golf cap on, much to the amusement of his team – everyone except Johnson, who apparently wouldn’t even make eye contact with his head coach.
If that report is true, maybe Whitlock is onto something. Maybe Haley wants to keep LJ around just to make his life miserable. It’s not the way to go because as Johnson has shown he can do a bang up job of making things difficult for the entire Chiefs organization in a hurry.
My plan is very simple: Denounce. Suspend. Release.