View Full Version : Merrill: LJ will carry big load

01-20-2006, 02:10 AM

L.J. will carry big load
New Chiefs coach also wants him to be leader

The Kansas City Star

After at least one well-publicized clash with the old regime, running back Larry Johnson appears to have found instant harmony with the Chiefs’ new coach.

Herm Edwards has told Johnson he’ll go into training camp as the starter over Priest Holmes. And here’s the kicker: Edwards wants young L.J. to be a team leader.

“He’d better be,” Edwards said Thursday. “Because that’s part of the deal. He has to learn how to do that. Hopefully, I can help him do that. He has the potential in him. I really don’t know if anyone’s ever asked him to do that. But he’s got to do it a lot of ways, not only on the field but off the field.”

Johnson, 26, had been dubbed the Chiefs’ angry young running back, and after sitting for two years he unleashed a record-breaking 2005. He ran for 100 yards in each of the nine games after Holmes suffered a season-ending neck injury. Johnson finished with 1,750 yards and 20 touchdowns, receiving his first Pro Bowl berth.

Just four months ago, Johnson publicly yearned for more playing time and was still smarting over the “take the diaper off” comment from coach Dick Vermeil in 2004.

Then came Holmes’ injury and Johnson’s late-season tear. Could anyone really have bypassed Johnson again? Edwards gave him the news Tuesday in a conversation he called “poignant.”

Edwards met with Holmes last week. Spotted at Arrowhead Stadium before jumping on an elevator to see the new coach, Holmes said he was feeling fine. But Holmes, a three-time Pro Bowler, will undergo one more round of neurological tests in the coming weeks to determine whether he’ll play again.

“It was a good conversation,” Edwards said of his meeting with Holmes. “Obviously, he’s going to have to make a big decision. If I know Priest Holmes, I think he’ll be back.

“He is going to be a big part of our offense. But at this point, I think it’s Larry’s turn to be the starter. It’s his job to keep. And I think when you understand that, that’s the mind-set he needs to have and it’s something I think he’s looking forward to doing.”

Asked whether Holmes could play a Marshall Faulk-type of role as a third-down back, Edwards said, “At this point, we haven’t had an offensive staff meeting. So for me to tell you that would be my opinion, and I don’t really go about doing things that way.”

Johnson and Holmes haven’t returned phone calls to The Star.

Also Thursday, Edwards said he’s hopeful that Pro Bowl guard Will Shields will return for another season. Shields has battled arthritis in his knee and back and has pondered retirement for a year.

“I had a talk with Will Shields,” Edwards said. “I told him, ‘You can’t leave now.’ Because when I first got here, we were drafting him.”
Edwards was a Chiefs assistant when the team picked Shields in the third round in 1993.

“He’s preparing to go play in the Pro Bowl,” Edwards said. “I anticipate that he’ll be back. I anticipate these guys will be back, but that’s just my opinion.”

01-20-2006, 03:08 AM
LJ will embrace this.

the Talking Can
01-20-2006, 05:51 AM
LJ will embrace this.

or slap it if it gets out of line...

01-20-2006, 06:05 AM
He deserves it but I hope he doesn't expect to be paid as the number one RB in the NFL. I see another holdout on the horizon.

01-20-2006, 07:32 AM
It is a mistake to make LJ the focus only in this offense. We will wear him out over a whole 16 game season. I hope he understands that from being out there so much in the second half of the season.

We will need Priest to be on this team as the 3rd down back in passing situations. The Joe Washington of the coming season.

We will need the quick scoring passing game as well. LJ will be the focus just can't be the only look in the game.

Bob Dole
01-20-2006, 07:36 AM
But what kind of shoes was Holmes wearing when he got on the elevator?

Liz is really dropping the ball a lot lately.

01-20-2006, 07:36 AM
2200+ rushing yards for LJ next year??

01-20-2006, 07:36 AM
Heh heh...she said big load.

KC Jones
01-20-2006, 07:43 AM
or slap it if it gets out of line...


LJ could be part of the reason Peterson went over Saunders for Edwards.

Hog's Gone Fishin
01-20-2006, 08:03 AM
Edwards is already motivating his men . He'll get us another year out of Shields. I like it!