L.J. Finally Tips The Scale … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

There is always a sliding scale at work when it comes to players and the National Football League. Actually, it’s not just peculiar to pro football or sports; it can be found in just about any business.

An employee’s faults are something an employer will put up with depending on what type of performance he can deliver. That’s why the really good athletes get more chances when they screw up on and off the field. If they are really good, ownership, management and coaches are willing to put up with a lot of junk, if there’s a lot of production.

The less production, the less junk will be allowed. When the scales tip towards the junk and away from the performance, generally there is a parting of the ways.

That’s really the story of what went down with the Chiefs decision to release Larry Johnson on Monday. When Chiefs head coach Todd Haley said it was the “totality of the situation” he was speaking the truth. It was the past, the present and the future that all went into cutting L.J. loose at this point.

Just about all Chiefs fans know the past, so we won’t rehash what happened over the previous six seasons of As the L.J. Turned. But trust me on this: Clark Hunt wasn’t too excited about keeping Larry Johnson, especially in the face of fan uproar over this current edition of L.J.’s troubles. Always remember these words spoken by Clark Hunt himself: “I’m not as patient as my father.” Figure the man in charge was a solid vote for releasing Johnson, largely because of the past.

The present was also an important part of the decision, and even more so was the future.

If you think that Johnson was released because of his Twitter comments about Todd Haley you would be mistaken. On the list of L.J. transgressions, talking about his coach’s history as a college golfer was barely a blip on the radar screen. Haley was not perturbed by the comments and they mattered little in the discussion involving Johnson’s future.

It is safe to say that the best relationship that Johnson had with a Chiefs head coach was with Haley. He never connected with Dick Vermeil and Johnson was in many ways the anti-Herm Edwards. What L.J. thought was important, Edwards had no use for. As a son, husband and father of two young daughters, Edwards had a hard time understanding Johnson and his treatment of women. For Herm to bring the hammer down on L.J. last year for his attitude, his arrests and his tardiness spoke volumes. If Edwards had survived as head coach, Johnson would have been gone back in February.

Haley did exactly what he’s talked about since moving into the Chiefs facility. He gave Johnson a clean slate and L.J. actually thrived. He was part of the off-season conditioning program and showed up for all but one of the team’s OTA sessions. Johnson took care of his legal problems involving a couple of assault charges and he was the good soldier for awhile.

That’s always been the case with L.J.; he behaves for awhile. You can bet there were doubts in the mind of Pioli and especially Haley, as to what they would be seeing in the coming weeks if Johnson stayed with the team. With everything else that’s gone wrong with this team in this season, they didn’t want that potential headache.

And then there’s the future. In eight days, Johnson will celebrate his 30th birthday. Whether it’s a deterioration of his ability, a lack of blocking, or a lot of both, the chances of L.J. being productive in the immediate future are not good. He doesn’t have the speed to make plays on his own and those cracks that he ran through with so much success a few years ago are just not there anymore, gone with the departure of names like Roaf, Shields and Wiegmann.

The NFL can count on one hand the running backs that had any type of success after they turned 30; the Chiefs had one in the ’90s in Marcus Allen, he did things running the ball that nobody in their 30s had done before. While Johnson’s first two years in the league had little action and thus little pounding to the body, he’s never taken care of himself the way Allen did over his playing career.

Whether the decision to release Johnson was the right move or not is a legitimate argument. The Chiefs are not in a position to be releasing talented players and make no mistake, Johnson still has talent. Plus, there’s the precedent that’s been set now for a player to misbehave his way out of the Chiefs locker room if he so desires. The Chiefs can’t win on the field and this incident and decision indicates they can’t win off the field either.

But ultimately, the “totality of the situation” came down to this: Johnson’s production is no longer worth the price of dealing with Johnson’s junk. The scale finally titled in the other direction.


  • BENGALS – placed WR Chris Henry on the injured-reserve list; signed OT Scott Kooistra.
  • BROWNS – promoted LB Marcus Benard from the practice squad.
  • CHIEFS – released RB Larry Johnson.
  • LIONS – released WR John Standeford; promoted DT Joe Cohen from the practice squad.
  • PANTHERS – have lost LB Thomas Davis for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee.
  • RAIDERS – signed DT William Joseph; released G Paul McQuistan.


On November 10, 1974, the Chiefs lost to the San Diego Chargers 14-7 at Arrowhead Stadium. This defensive battle was played in the rain and led to more than 22,000 no shows. Despite the weather, QB Len Dawson was able to throw t he ball, hitting 26 of 44 throws for 381 yards and an 84-yard TD pass to WR Larry Brunson. But Dawson threw an interception and was sacked five times. San Diego QB Jesse Freitas replaced starter Dan Fouts and threw the winning TD pass, a 71-yard bomb to WR Gary Garrison. The Chiefs defense had interceptions by Kerry Reardon and Clyde Werner. Brunson finished with nine catches for 210 yards.

On November 10, 1975, the Chiefs beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-31 in a Monday night game at Texas Stadium. The Chiefs exploded for 24 first half points against a Dallas defense that ended that season in the Super Bowl. The first TD came when DE John Matuszak recovered a fumble by RB Preston Pearson in the end zone. RB Ed Podolak added TD runs of one and 11 yards and Jan Stenerud hit a 51-yard field goal. Dallas came back in the second half, but the Chiefs got the last TD as Podolak caught a five-yard throw from QB Mike Livingston. The Kansas City defense gave u p 447 yards, but they also forced a pair of Roger Staubach (left) interceptions, as S Mike Sensibaugh and LB Willie Lanier picked off the throws. The Cowboys also lost five fumbles in the game, with CB Emmitt Thomas recovering two of those loose balls. In what was a bad decade, it was one of the biggest Chiefs victories of the 1970s.

On November 10, 1985, the Chiefs lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-28 at Arrowhead Stadium. Some 46,126 fans showed up to see if the Chiefs could snap their five game losing streak and things started out well when FS Deron Cherry picked off Steelers QB David Woodley on the first offensive series of the game and returned the interception 47 yards for a touchdown. Woodley came back later and threw a 13-yard TD pass to WR John Stallworth. Pittsburgh punt returner Louis Lipps returned a punt 71 yards for a score. Chiefs QB Bill Kenney threw three TD passes, including a pair to RB Jeff Smith for 13 and 45 yards. He also hooked up with WR Anthony Hancock for a 13-yard score.

On November 10, 1991, the Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Rams 27-20 at Anaheim Stadium. LB Derrick Thomas picked up a Jim Everett fumble and returned it 23 yards for the winning fourth-quarter touchdown as they Chiefs grabbed a big road victory. Earlier, the Chiefs got a six-yard TD pass from QB Steve DeBerg to TE Jonathan Hayes and a one-yard scoring run by RB Barry Word. There was also a pair of FGs from Nick Lowery. The Rams racked up 430 offensive yards, but the Chiefs for four fumbles and five turnovers in all. FS Deron Cherry had an interception and Thomas added a sack. Everett threw for 329 yards and three TDs, but came up short on the victory.

On November 10, 1996, the Chiefs beat the Green Bay Packers 27-20 at Arrowhead Stadium. QB Brett Favre (right) was in the house, but the Chiefs were able to keep the Packers offense under control. Favre was sacked four times, including twice by LB Derrick Thomas. The KC defense also picked off a Favre pass, as S Charles Washington got his hands on the ball. Offensively, the Chiefs got a big night out of RB Greg Hill, who scored three touchdowns on runs of eight and 24 yards and a 34-yard pass play from QB Steve Bono. Hill finished with 94 yards rushing and 34 yards receiving. Bono hit only nine of 22 passes for 204 yards, but he did not throw an interception.


Born on November 10, 1968 in New Orleans was LB Lonnie Marts. He joined the Chiefs as an undrafted college free agent in 1991 out of Tulane. Marts ended up playing three seasons with the Chiefs (1991-93), appearing in 47 games, with starts. He had three sacks, two interceptions, including one that he returned 36 yards for a touchdown in ’92. He also recovered three fumbles. Marts spent three seasons playing for Tampa Bay (1994-96), two seasons in New Orleans (1997-98) and two years in Jacksonville (1999-2000). He ended up playing in 147 NFL games; not bad for a guy who was not a draft choice.

Born on November 10, 1960 in Pittsburgh was TE Ron Wetzel. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1983 NFL Draft out of Arizona State. Wetzel spent that rookie season with the Chiefs, appearing in all 16 games and playing on special teams. He did not make the team the following year.

Born on November 10, 1973 in Petersburg, Virginia was DT Darius Holland. He joined the Chiefs in 1998, playing six games after spending three seasons in Green Bay, where he was the Packers third-round choice in the 1995 NFL Draft out of Colorado. After leaving the Chiefs, Holland played for Detroit, Cleveland, Minnesota and Denver over the next seven years.

18 Responses to “L.J. Finally Tips The Scale … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • November 10, 2009  - MenInRed says:

    Once again, this was a Clark Hunt move given to Pioli, Haley wanted & liked LJ and if he would of had it his way LJ would still be here.

    GO CHIEFS!!!

  • November 10, 2009  - el cid says:

    I am not a patient man – Clark Hunt.

    My, my how bad would it be this year if he were a “patient man”. Rookie GM, Rookie HC, and gutted team. Necessary, maybe, bearable, no and headed for success, only in you dreams.

  • November 10, 2009  - Josh says:

    I believe the quote was “I am not as patient as my father”. Just sayin…


  • November 10, 2009  - el cid says:

    mis quote, my bad. My point is still how much worse could this season get.

  • November 10, 2009  - gorillafan says:

    whether you agree with the decision or not, I think it had to be done to send a message and get this organization back on track to where it used to be. our franchise needs to be back with winning and winning players. we dont need to be labeled with dallas and oakland as having disruptive players. b/c in the long run, you cant win with them anyway!!

  • November 10, 2009  - ThunderChief says:

    Another like to go back to the eve of the 2007 season with LJ, coming off two bruising 400 or so carries in back to back seasons and shopping him around for draft picks as opposed to signing him to a new multi million dollar deal?

  • November 10, 2009  - Pablo says:

    Keep the dream alive Cid…

    Even when the Chiefs were “good” in the 90′s, it was all just an illusion. Flash and sparkles courtesy of Dick Vermeil. If we weren’t up by at least 30 at the half then the game was still very much in the balance. But boy it sure was fun to watch!! WoW!! All that passing and the catching and the scoring!!!

    Never really took us anywhere…we couldn’t go anywhere in the playoffs, because the flash and gimicks can only take you so far. Playoff teams have good defenses. Playoff teams adjust.

    All those fans looking back at the 90′s with tears in their eyes, remembering the glory days are fools. The team wasn’t good back then either, because it wasn’t a complete team. It was just a flashy offense. Read off the list of NFL records set by the Chiefs from that era and you’d be flabergasteed to realize that not only did all those records not result in a Super Bowl win, they didn’t even result in a playoff win.

    Carl and Dick did exactly what they were paid to do – fooled the fans into thinking that the team had a shot, that they were good, and they sold a lot of tickets.

    This team has been bleeding itself dry of talent for YEARS, like over a decade, but no one noticed. They patched it up with veterans on their last stop before retirement, had a couple of happy accidents with Gonzales and LJ (I’m still convinced drafting LJ was just a ploy to get Priest back to the contractual bargaining table), and just generally made do to be just good enough. Not good enough to contend for a super bowl, but good enough to keep fans coming back.

    That eventually ran it’s course. All the fans crying for a return to the ‘good old days’ don’t really know what they’re asking for. All those who suddenly have run out of patience because the team is actually rebuilding for a change are still looking for the illusions of yesteryear.

    This team will not get better overnight.

    They suck, they will suck for at least another year.

    Changing the coach or GM will not make any difference at this point, because you are still starting over.

    Bring Cowher in here, bring Marty back, hell bring Bellichek in here, it will still take them more than one off-season to put the pieces back together.

  • November 10, 2009  - gorillafan says:

    i think that if we traded him at that time, than we would have had the same crowd bitchn that carl let another good player go. so, yeah we should have traded him then looking back, but we didnt at that time and i understand why. i just call it bad luck…

  • November 10, 2009  - Jim Lloyd+ says:

    The Chiefs have 4 tight ends , 2 that are huge and can move out , 45< 270@ 6' 8"
    87< 270@ 6' 7"
    The offence line needs help ,other teams have them back there ?

  • November 10, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    Yes sir…hindsight is 20/20. The same could be said for us trading back in the draft because Peterson didn’t think there was a player worth taking at #17. We ended up with LJ…and Pittsburg picked a guy named Troy Polamalu with what COULD have been our pick. That long-haired wildman would have looked pretty good in red, if you ask me.

  • November 10, 2009  - gorillafan says:

    good point too Mad Chief

    i agree, he would have made a huge diff on this team

  • November 10, 2009  - Devil Dog 1976 says:

    I like many of you look forward to the passionate running game that has been hibernating. I think that the RBs that we have will begin to carve their niche and become known throughout the NFL. The motivation will spread like wildfire through the TEAM. One guy gets it going and the next guy steps up. They showed a little of their desire to win in the fourth Qtr. Next they are going to put together a whole game, watch and believe.

    In Coach Haley I trust… now we ALL should.

    It is all about the TEAM….. and the right 53!!

    A big happy birthday to all of you devil dogs out there, 234 years of providing freedom. And may we remember tomorrow those who provided our freedom.

  • November 10, 2009  - Hank says:

    Devil Dog,
    You are spot on! We have not had a PASSIONATE running game in 3 years. The passion not only extends to the RB but also to the OL/TE/WR blocking for him.

    PASSION is what I saw out of KS,JC & DS last week in limited carries but I also saw the OL finishing blocks. I think the difference in the OL attitude/performance is enhanced just as much (and because of) the passion in the RB’s now carrying the ball.

    This is what I will watch for THIS week.

  • November 10, 2009  - gorillafan says:

    and not a better time than to steal our game back from the raiders!!

  • November 10, 2009  - David Henderson says:

    First and foremost thank you to all the veterans of the Armed Forces out there, God Bless America! Thank you to the Chiefs organization for doing the right thing, in my humble opinion of course. Is there anyone else out there that’s scared that this weekend may be the last chance the Chiefs have to win a game? I just hope they play with a little more urgency at the first of the game. It seems to me they started the year the same way, then have learned to be better at the end of the game. Know they just need to put it all together and play good the whole game, and Haley please take a few chances at the first of the game, stretch the field and open the running game up!

  • November 10, 2009  - gorillafan says:

    I think we can beat the raiders, bills, and browns but thats about it

  • November 10, 2009  - David Henderson says:

    Well for Haley’s sake 4 and 12 is better than 2 and 14, GO CHIEFS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • November 10, 2009  - Jody says:

    When will they real with the “totality” of Haley being an in-over-his-head jerk? 1-7 people, Egoli and Hailme just lost their best friend in LJ now their incompetence is center stage again.

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