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Old 04-03-2007, 11:14 AM  
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Larry Johnson - Always Looking Ahead

It's scary to think how good Larry Johnson can be.

The Kansas City Chiefs running back is coming off consecutive Pro Bowl seasons, so he's already among the elite at his position. But it's his drive to be the best, combined with his youth and track record of being virtually injury-free, that portends him as one of the NFL's top players for several years to come.

The son of a coach, Johnson has been around football for most of his life. After a sensational 2002 season at Penn State University in which he collected three prestigious college honors—the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award and Doak Walker Award—it's hard to believe that he dropped to the 27th overall pick in the 2003 draft. The Chiefs wisely selected him, but Johnson didn't see much of the field while serving as Priest Holmes' backup.

Once he became the featured back in 2005, due to an injury to Holmes, Johnson showed the entire league what he could do. He went on a tear that year, ending the season with nine straight 100-yard rushing games. Johnson proved to be the hottest player in the league and quickly erased any doubts about who was the running back of the future in Kansas City.

In 2006, Johnson literally carried the load for his team, establishing an NFL record with 416 rushing attempts. And even though the Chiefs made the playoffs, Johnson was left somewhat disappointed in the way last season ended.

"Obviously, we're working on a lot of things," he said. "Of course, being that this was our offensive coordinator's (Mike Solari) first year being an offensive coordinator, I think he's going to do an even better job next year," Johnson added.

Johnson, who is spending his offseason relaxing until team preparations for the 2007 season begin, certainly deserves the respite. His bruising running style and impressive footwork which belies his 6-foot-1, 230-pound frame make him one of the hardest players to bring down. Teams often key in on him, knowing he is the main offensive weapon in the Chiefs' arsenal.

Although he'll likely have a lighter workload next year, head coach Herm Edwards has made it no secret that as Johnson goes, so go the Chiefs. The workhorse of the Kansas City offense had trouble getting off the ground in the team's final game, a 23-8 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs. That game left Johnson with a sour taste in his mouth heading into this offseason.

"I think all of them sat and watched ESPN the whole week, because that's the only thing they would talk about: the fact that we were going to run on top of them," Johnson joked as he gave credit to the Colts' run defense in that playoff game. "I think we weren't prepared for them putting eight in the box, nine in the box, and we wanted to try to attempt to run and it seemed like we didn't have anything to combat that and change things up.

"And it happened to eat us up in that playoff game," he said.

Johnson, who has a deep interest in fashion and design, has already thought about his post-football life. At age 27, it's still on the backburner for many more years, but Johnson believes it's never too early to begin planning ahead.

"I am doing my own thing with Jay-Z's clothing company and doing different things behind the scenes as far as trying to do something after football," said Johnson, who has a contract with Team Roc, the clothing line founded by Jay-Z. "That's the biggest thing—what am I going to do after football? I obviously can't play forever, which I want to do, but I have to have some type of plan so I have to put myself in a place where I have a better chance to get my off-the-field things going."

When Johnson spoke about his desire to have a second career after football, Cincinnati Bengals great and NFL analyst Boomer Esiason quickly offered a rebuttal that echoed the sentiments of many.

"We don't want him going anywhere just yet," Esiason said at a press conference in Miami during Super Bowl week. "He's got a lot more carries to go."

While the Chiefs have plenty of question marks during this free agency period, Johnson is the bastion upon which their offensive identity is built. Playing in a top-heavy AFC, the Chiefs will ride their star running back as far as he can take them, which he hopes is a spot in Super Bowl XLII.

"Obviously, we're trying to get … to the Super Bowl," said Johnson, who ranked second in the NFL with 1,789 rushing yards last season. "Every year is like that; even if you don't make it, you always want to get to it. Now we know what it feels like to be in a playoff game and a playoff situation on the road, so I think that most importantly we can take that and learn from it," he said.

Like most of the great players in today's NFL, Johnson is a student of the game. He grew up emulating Jim Brown, and although comparisons to the gold standard for running backs are premature, Johnson does have some of Brown's skills in him. His versatility was represented by his 17 rushing touchdowns in 2006 (also No. 2 in the NFL), to go along with 41 receptions for 410 yards and two more touchdowns.

"It's been moreso Jim Brown and a couple other guys that have been playing before I was even born, so that's really who I focus all my attention [on] as far as taking my game to the next level—the guys that played before me," said Johnson, who showed his durability and consistency by being nominated seven times for the FedEx Ground Player of the Week award.

Now that Johnson has hit the ground running in his career with the Chiefs, is he optimistic about next season?

"Definitely," the two-time Pro Bowler said confidently. "Our defense is getting better and the offense is going to get even better, so it's always about being consistent."

One thing they won't have to worry about is production from Johnson.
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:21 AM   #2
Count Zarth Count Zarth is offline
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Where is this from?
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:24 AM   #3
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:33 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by GoChiefs
Where is this from?


I bet WPI has this same article...and now GoBitch is taking claim on it
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:35 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Redrum_69
I bet WPI has this same article...and now GoBitch is taking claim on it
No. It was really shitty. I'd be embarrassed to print that.
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by GoChiefs
No. It was really shitty. I'd be embarrassed to print that.


not enough misspellings, paragraphs, and punctuation for ya?

or was it because it made sense?
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:49 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by GoChiefs
No. It was really shitty. I'd be embarrassed to print that.
So... when you're proofreading WPI's articles, do you actually read it or just look for mistakes?
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoChiefs
No. It was really shitty. I'd be embarrassed to print that.
After the last few days I am getting very close to putting you on my empty ignore list. It is too bad you haev reverted to your old idiotic meanderings, you were a good contributor to this board the last year or so. I think your head is starting to climb back up into your ass.
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redrum_69
not enough misspellings, paragraphs, and punctuation for ya?

or was it because it made sense?
It was a boring rehash of everything we already knew.

By the way, Warpaint articles contain few, if any, misspellings or punctuation errors.
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:55 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Fire Me Boy!
So... when you're proofreading WPI's articles, do you actually read it or just look for mistakes?
Both. Why?
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Count Zarth is obviously part of the inner Circle.Count Zarth is obviously part of the inner Circle.Count Zarth is obviously part of the inner Circle.Count Zarth is obviously part of the inner Circle.Count Zarth is obviously part of the inner Circle.Count Zarth is obviously part of the inner Circle.Count Zarth is obviously part of the inner Circle.Count Zarth is obviously part of the inner Circle.Count Zarth is obviously part of the inner Circle.Count Zarth is obviously part of the inner Circle.Count Zarth is obviously part of the inner Circle.
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:56 AM   #11
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WPI's title would have been: JOHNSON POINTED IN RIGHT DIRECTION
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:59 AM   #12
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People outside of KC dont know that though They arent writing it for the just the KC fans.
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:11 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by GoChiefs
Both. Why?
Just curious... didn't figure you read WPI's articles if you would have been embarrassed to print that story.

In comparison, that article and 90 percent of what's on WPI are neck and neck. Have a little objectivity. WPI is absolute no better than this article.
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Fire Me Boy!
WPI is absolute no better than this article.
I completely disagree with that. We don't print rehashed garbage that everyone's heard a million times.

Really, that was nothing more than a glorified bio.
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Last edited by Count Zarth; 04-03-2007 at 12:18 PM..
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:20 PM   #15
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People outside of KC dont know that though They arent writing it for the just the KC fans.
Now that looks like a WPI sentence.
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