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BigRedChief
11-03-2005, 05:29 AM
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

Larry Johnson hasn’t had one of his patented outbursts of unhappiness this season, but don’t for a minute confuse that with contentment.
Johnson indicated Wednesday that he’s still angling for what he perceives would be a better opportunity somewhere else. Ironically, his words came as it appeared that he would play more in the Chiefs’ game Sunday against Oakland at Arrowhead Stadium.

Priest Holmes, who left for California for a second opinion on the concussion that knocked him out of last week’s game in San Diego, did not practice Wednesday. He is not scheduled to return until after today’s practice is over. That increases the chances of breaking the harness of two series for Holmes and one for Johnson.

Even so, Johnson said he didn’t think a big game Sunday as the sole featured back would force the Chiefs to play him more.

“I doubt it,” he said. “You know Dick Vermeil, and I know Dick Vermeil. That ain’t going to happen.

“I can’t force this organization to do anything. I’ve tried that before. I tried that last year, and it got me the reputation that I’m the bad seed of the organization. So I’m not even going to try that route. I’m going to play it out, and whatever teams that want me — there are teams out there that don’t have good rushers — there might be an opportunity that opens up for me.

“There’s not anything I’m going to expect or anything I’m not going to expect.”

It turned out Johnson had an accurate grasp of what the Chiefs are thinking. Vermeil said that nothing Johnson did against the Raiders would affect the running-back situation.

“Priest Holmes is our starting running back,” Vermeil said. “I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Larry Johnson had a great game if he did play, because I’ve seen it before. But Priest Holmes is our starter, and they know it and we know it.

“If Priest isn’t ready, then Larry will take it and go. Or, if Priest is just ready to be a backup, then Larry will take it and go.”

Holmes was listed by the Chiefs as questionable for Sunday’s game on the official injury report filed with the NFL. That means the Chiefs believe he has a 50 percent chance of playing.
Vermeil had a different opinion.

“I expect him to play,” he said. “I’m not a doctor. I’ve just been there before and seen these kinds of things before.”

Before he departed, Holmes did a conference call with Oakland-area reporters.

“We’re still waiting on the diagnosis of the images from the MRI, but I definitely know that once that’s done, we’ll have a better idea of how exactly I can proceed with the rest of the week,” Holmes said. “I’m feeling good. It’s one of those things where it’s not an injury where you can physically see and determine. It’s one where you have to go through the different tests, and then once that’s determined, they’re going to do everything to protect me but make sure I can get out there as quickly as possible.

“I know the doctors are taking every precaution and looking at all of the images from the MRI. Once that’s done, they’re going to give me the word: ‘Let’s get suited up.’ ”

While Holmes has indicated his acceptance of the running-back rotation, Johnson has not. Always one to hear the clock ticking on his career from the day he joined the Chiefs, Johnson this season is less demanding publicly but no more patient.

“I’ve got to get my yards now,” he said. “I really don’t care if Priest plays or not. It’s the same situation as before. If he plays, he plays. It doesn’t really matter what he does.”

Whether Holmes plays does affect Johnson — not to mention the Chiefs — immensely. Johnson filled in for the injured Holmes in both Raiders games last year, and he was a big factor in the Chiefs victories, totaling 296 rushing and receiving yards and four touchdowns.

He had nine carries for 41 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs’ 23-17 win in Oakland in September.

The Chiefs are looking at Johnson, who signed a seven-year contract in 2003, as the eventual replacement for Holmes and not as trade bait. Either way, a 1,000-yard season despite limited playing time could brand Johnson as an elite back.

He has 399 yards through seven games, which puts him on a pace for 912. A big game Sunday, even if it’s his only one as the lone featured back, could be the one to eventually propel him over the magical mark.
That’s a prospect that excited even the anxious Johnson.

“That would be a real eye-opener,” Johnson said. “People don’t expect somebody with seven, eight, nine carries at the most to break 1,000 yards. Nobody’s ever heard of that.”

In Oakland, the Raiders are watching the developments with interest, too. Playing without Holmes would certainly alter the Chiefs’ play-calling and make them more of a power-running team.

“We do a lot to try to break it down, and we put the reels (of video) together and see the difference when either of the backs are in there and it’s hard to find a whole lot of difference,” Raiders coach Norv Turner said. “They might be a little more of a power-running team with Johnson.

“Priest is a great player. He’s one of the better players in the league.

Just like a couple of weeks ago when we were without Randy (Moss). You lose one of the top players in the league, and it has an impact. My big deal with our team is someone has to pick up the slack, and I’m sure that’s how Kansas City is approaching it.”

Mile High Mania
11-03-2005, 06:40 AM
That is one unhappy fellow. I haven't heard much from Bell, but I kinda wonder how unhappy he is at being the backup in Denver and sharing time. I'm just surprised LJ's so vocal about it.

Mecca
11-03-2005, 07:02 AM
Well this is Bell's 2nd year in the league and he's getting on the field, he even got on the field last year. This is Larry Johnsons 3rd year, he wasn't even active most games in his first year. His 2nd year the coach bashed him out in the open, basically admitted he didn't want to draft him. Played 2 RB's over him, it took injuries to 2 players to even get Johnson on the field.

It's a little bit of a diferent situation from Bell to Johnson as to why one is pissed and one isn't.

BigRedChief
11-03-2005, 07:45 AM
Well this is Bell's 2nd year in the league and he's getting on the field, he even got on the field last year. This is Larry Johnsons 3rd year, he wasn't even active most games in his first year. His 2nd year the coach bashed him out in the open, basically admitted he didn't want to draft him. Played 2 RB's over him, it took injuries to 2 players to even get Johnson on the field.

It's a little bit of a diferent situation from Bell to Johnson as to why one is pissed and one isn't.

I agree. He didn't even dress the first year hardly at all. Any RB worth a chit is not going to like being on the bench. Not getting the ball. Piss me off if I had that much talent