Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson is still looking for a team to play for and the Redskins need a backup for Clinton Portis. So it makes sense that Johnson is looking forward to his trip to Washington later Friday.
“Larry is extremely excited and anticipates having a great visit with the Redskins,” Johnson’s agent, Peter Schaffer, said in a phone interview. “He grew up a Redskins fan. He was born in the D.C. area and he’s a lifelong fan. To some extent, this could be a dream come true for him.
“He looks forward to meeting with the coaching staff and front office to explore his opportunities, how they would use him and if it’s going to be a good fit. Obviously, I will have to hunker down with [General Manager] Bruce Allen and Eric Schaffer [the team’s vice president of football administration] to see if we can work out a contract that is fair to both sides.”
Johnson, 30, could be an intriguing option because of his past success as a power runner. If Johnson and the Redskins do not reach an agreement, Johnson is expected to visit the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
The presence of another big-name back on the roster might prove to be a source of motivation for Portis. He is coming off a concussion that sidelined him for the final eight games last season.
Portis, 28, reported to training camp out of shape, attempted to have fullback Mike Sellers demoted during a game – prompting a locker-room altercation – and also was critical of quarterback Jason Campbell in a radio interview after the season. Portis is guaranteed $6.4 million of his $7.19 million base salary for the 2010 season.
Given his client’s track record, I would imagine any team willing to roll the dice on Johnson would be a “good fit” in Schaffer’s mind.
I still don’t understand why there is interest from Washington’s side. As I said yesterday, do you really want to be forced to rely on LJ if Portis is unable to return from the concussion that ended his season last year?
Clearly they are determined to add a veteran runner, but they would be much better off with a guy like Justin Fargas as long as he is healthy (Oakland claims he failed a physical, Fargas says otherwise). Or if they really wanted to push Portis, Thomas Jones would have been a perfect fit (sorry, DC) coming off a 1,400 yard season.
If the Redskins end up signing Johnson, how long long before he gets into it with Portis? I’m setting the over/under at Week 3.