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H. Gore
National Blogger

H. Gore

Head writer for You Been Blinded

LJ's numbers don't lie


The Kansas City Chiefs released Larry Johnson after six and half tumultuous seasons following his disparaging Twitter comments about head coach Todd Haley and his use of gay slurs. Those actions warranted the indefinite suspension given to Johnson prior to his being waived but they're not the reason K.C. showed L.J. the door. They dumped him because the numbers say he's finished.

Larry Johnson's 2005 and 2006 seasons were two of the best years any running back has had. He rushed for 3539 yards and scored 40 touchdowns. He carried the ball 752 times over the two-year span and had 74 touches via receptions. All of that work explains why Johnson played in only 20 games with 393 total touches and nine touchdowns in 2007 and 2008 combined. Before his release he was on pace to crack 200 rushing attempts for the first time since '06 but a 2.7 yards per rush average makes those hollow carries.

Johnson joined The Dan Patrick show to give his side of why he's no longer with the Chiefs. Aside from saying he was frustrated with the losing and cool with Todd Haley, Johnson believes he was released because he was about to break Priest Holmes' team rushing record. I'm sure that was a factor (why would they want that guy as their all-time leader?) but his behavior is the number one reason he was booted.

Larry went on to say he doesn't mind being a backup because he believes he can still help a team win. I can see him getting some very limited runs as a short-yardage back but the reliable, give-it-to-him-and-get-out-the-way Larry Johnson is gone. The Bears, Patriots, Redskins, and Texans are reported to have interest in Johnson but they need to understand they're not getting the 2005-06 diesel LJ. They're getting a guy that's going to run hard initially but when things don't go the way he decides he wants them to go the coaching staff, media, and Twitter better watch out. And anybody within spitting distance would be wise to move back a few feet.

The magic number for running backs is 30. That's the age when the years of wear and tear start to show and a noticeable dip in production begins. There's nothing shameful about the process. LJ turns 30 on the 19th of this month and considering he's only played in all 16 games twice in his career teams should take extra precaution. I'm not saying he doesn't deserve another shot. I just don't know how much he has left.

By H. Gore  |  November 11, 2009; 11:41 AM ET  | Category:  Kansas City Chiefs Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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