Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson may have reached a settlement that will keep his two week suspension intact while cutting the money lost in half, it doesn’t mean anyone knows what is going to happen next with the volatile running back according to his agent Peter Schaffer.
Schaffer said the agreement with the Chiefs was a step toward a peaceful resolution, but he stopped short of saying Johnson would play again for the team in 2009 or beyond. Johnson is signed through 2012, but the Chiefs could decide to distance themselves from Johnson after weighing his ineffectiveness this season — he has averaged 2.7 yards per carry in seven games — and his latest messy episode.
Schaffer said his client felt as if he were still in the early phases of his relationship with Pioli and Haley, both of whom are in their first years in Kansas City, and that moving forward with a grievance might have further soiled that relationship.
“This is a case of first impression in a lot of areas,” Schaffer said. “A lot of times arbitrations become adversarial: ‘I’m still a member of this team, and these are not the people I want to be fighting with; I want to be fighting with them.’ I thought that was a very mature stance.”
“Larry took the very high road, saying it wasn’t his agenda to fight with his team.”
Schaffer said that neither he nor his client know what might happen next. But Schaffer said he knows this: Johnson will be at Chiefs headquarters next week unless he’s told not to be.
“That’s our plan,” Schaffer said. “I’m satisfied with the process. Everybody was positive; everybody was productive. People wanted to find a way to keep moving forward. It’s very easy; any time you’re dealing with the human element, with passion and pride and intelligence, it sometimes can go the other way.”
The words to pay attention to: unless he’s told not to be.
With Larry Johnson showing once again the only thing he cares about is his wallet, the next step for Todd Haley, Scott Pioli and Clark Hunt is to tell Schaffer his client is no longer welcome at Arrowhead Stadium. I’m sure the agent will feign outrage, but the check will still clear so he won’t force his way into the Chiefs facility.
Just the idea that somehow Johnson is taking the high road in this incident is beyond me. I seriously cannot fathom how Schaffer can — with a straight face — talk up his client as the hero in this story.