The League

Mike Freeman

Mike Freeman

National sports columnist for

He'll be back


Larry Johnson was kicked off the Kansas City Chiefs. The surprise isn't that an NFL team finally stood up to an alleged homophobic woman beater. The surprise will be if that another team doesn't sign Johnson within 72 hours.

The question for the panel is: will Johnson resurrect his career?

The answer, after much deliberation with my lawyers, consultants, NFL coaches and general managers is officially: ah, yeah, duh.

NFL teams have signed drunk drivers, sexual assaulters, petty criminals, felons and dog killers. The NFL hasn't had a conscience since the Nixon administration. Hell, if he was still alive, they'd sign Nixon. (He is dead isn't he?)

Johnson, at one point, was a terrific back. Now, he's an average one but that won't stop teams from lining up to sign him like they're stay at home dads who just heard about a leaf blower sale at Wal-Mart.

Will Johnson resurrect his career? Is the sky blue? Was Michael Jackson strange? (He is dead isn't he?)

Of course he will. My guess: he'll be back by the end of the week and at the absolute latest by the end of the month.

This is the way of many NFL teams. If you stink, and you're a criminal, they're not interested. If you're talented and a criminal, well, just how drunk were you when you drove into that light post at three in the morning? You say your blood alcohol level was so high you could breathe fire like a dragon? Not a problem. Sign on the dotted line and here's your bonus. And could you please turn the other way, your breath is getting me drunk.

Johnson was released by the Chiefs after using a gay slur on his Twitter page (mom always said bad things happen on Twitter after midnight). The homophobia is bad enough but Johnson's allegedly been arrested four times for various assaults against women since 2003. He once allegedly waved a gun in the face of an ex. He's also been accused of spitting a drink in the face of a woman while at a nightclub.

He's a regular Prince Charming.

But he'll be back.

Johnson can still play or, more importantly, teams believe he can still play. It's that fact which will have him employed soon.

In my 20 years of covering professional football the vast majority of players were good human beings who respected the law and abided it. The problem is that NFL teams have shown a remarkable penchant for sticking by the few (talented) bad apples. The Chiefs did it with Johnson and the Eagles re-signed Mike Vick. There are many examples.

Some teams, like the Houston Texans, are now stating publicly they have no interest in Johnson. But many teams said the same thing about Vick and we now know they weren't telling the truth.

How do you know a general manager is lying? His lips are moving.

Sometimes signing turd blossoms work; the Patriots did it with Randy Moss and he's yet to again run over any meter maids with his car.

So, yes, Johnson will be back.

Don't the Redskins need a runner?

By Mike Freeman  |  November 11, 2009; 8:50 AM ET  | Category:  Kansas City Chiefs Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Knock it off with the "homophobia" tripe. The fact is, a lot of us, very, very many of us, still believe homosexuality is immoral. If Johnson used a "gay slur," his sin wasn't speaking negatively of homosexuality. It may have been that he spoke too flippantly, or too disrespectfully of some individual, or inaccurately about some individual. But don't expect all of your readers to fall in with your theophobic belief that it's a crime to speak negatively of homosexuality. It's not. Homosexuality itself is the crime, a crime against the body and the God who made it.

Posted by: dcsuburb | November 11, 2009 2:18 PM

You know who's worse than homophobes -- religious zealots who think the bible gives them the right to hate. Organized religion is a big part of the problem. All organized religion. People like the above clown really think they are morally better than other people. They're much more dangerous than Larry Johnson. PS Read Sam Harris's "End of Faith."

Posted by: BadReligion | November 11, 2009 3:09 PM

"NFL teams have signed drunk drivers, sexual assaulters, petty criminals, felons and dog killers. The NFL hasn't had a conscious since the Nixon administration. Hell, if he was still alive, they'd sign Nixon. (He is dead isn't he?)"

Perhaps you meant conscience

Posted by: yelocrab | November 11, 2009 3:14 PM

Could you guys please can it with the "homophobic" crap? Just because some guy calls another person a fag or something, doesn't mean he's getting ready to pull a Matthew Shepard.

Larry Johnson is an idiot, yes. But this swooning thin-skinnedness about playground insults is stupid and boring.

Posted by: DrZin | November 11, 2009 7:19 PM

Not a whole lot has changed since college. He was kept on a short leash by JoPa and of course his dad who was coaching at the time, but he had a tendency to hang out at a certain bar where he'd act like a general goofball and harass the women.

He had a bit of a rep then and it looks like he's escalated since becoming pro.

Posted by: theobserver4 | November 12, 2009 11:11 AM

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