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RB Johnson Agrees To Terms With Bengals

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  • RB Johnson Agrees To Terms With Bengals

    RB Johnson agrees to terms with Bengals
    By JOE KAY, AP Sports Writer
    31 minutes ago

    CINCINNATI (AP)—Larry Johnson(notes) might have his career up-and-running sooner than expected.

    The running back who was banished from Kansas City for bad behavior signed on for a backup role with the Cincinnati Bengals on Tuesday, giving the AFC North leaders depth for the rest of this season. He might not be watching for long.

    A day after coach Marvin Lewis referred to Johnson as an insurance policy in case of injury, he said it’s possible the running back could play in some form Sunday in Oakland if starter Cedric Benson(notes) is still limited by a strained hip.

    “I’m not saying that it can’t happen, I’m not saying that it will happen, but stay tuned,” Lewis said, with Johnson sitting by his side. “He’d like to play, I know that. And we’ll see what happens as we go through the week, as I said earlier, regarding Cedric with his injury.”

    Johnson has his own goal for getting on the field: Dec. 27, when the Bengals play the Chiefs at Paul Brown Stadium. That could set up the second get-even game for a Bengals running back this season. Benson was carrying a grudge when he ran for a career-high 189 yards against his former Bears team on Oct. 25.

    Johnson is toting one, too.

    “I’d be lying if I said I ain’t looking at that game as a game I want to definitely play in, but we take it a game at a time, one situation at a time,” Johnson said. “I’m just trying to get on the field as of right now. If that happens, it’d be the best Christmas gift I can get.”

    The Bengals waived defensive tackle Orien Harris(notes) to open a roster spot for Johnson, who knew he’d be listed fourth on the depth chart to start.

    “I have to work my way back up,” Johnson said. “You have to earn your stripes, literally, in the situation I’m in.”

    The signing came eight days after the Chiefs let him go as he was set to return from his second suspension in the past 12 months. The Bengals are taking little financial risk by bringing Johnson in for the rest of the season—he could be released if he becomes a problem.

    “He knows what’s at stake and at risk,” Lewis said. “He gets an opportunity to start anew, just like anyone would. He has paid a price for what’s gone on, things he’s said and done, and it came to a finality in Kansas City. And now it’s a new start.”

    He got a second chance in Cincinnati, which has a history of providing them for troubled players. Owner Mike Brown(notes) brought Chris Henry back to the team before the 2008 season—over Lewis’ disagreement—and the receiver has stayed out of trouble since then. Henry is out for the rest of the season with a broken left arm.

    When injuries decimated their group of running backs last season, the Bengals signed Benson to a one-year deal despite his two alcohol-related arrests in Texas. The cases were dropped when grand juries declined to indict, and the Bengals offered a deal.

    Benson has revitalized his career in Cincinnati—he ranks sixth in the league in rushing with 859 yards and leads the NFL with 205 carries, only nine shy of his career high with roughly half a season to go. His backup, Bernard Scott(notes), is a rookie chosen in the sixth round from Abilene Christian.

    Benson couldn’t finish an 18-12 win at Pittsburgh on Sunday because of his hip injury, which gave the Bengals pause. The win left Cincinnati (7-2) in first place in the AFC North by a game, in position to make its second playoff appearance in the last 19 years.

    Lewis has assured Benson he will remain the top running back. During an interview Tuesday with Sirius XM Radio, Benson sounded open to it.

    “Yeah, I mean, well, you know, it’s good for him,” Benson said. “I was once in that position, and he’s getting his opportunity again. In all aspects we definitely plan on it to be a contribution to the team. If he can help the team in a positive way, then I’m all for that.”

    Johnson turns 30 on Thursday, and his production has declined in recent years. The Chiefs let him go following several controversies.

    He was benched for three games in 2008 by former Chiefs coach Herm Edwards for violating team rules, and the NFL added a game. He later was sentenced to two years’ probation after pleading guilty to disturbing the peace at a Kansas City night spot.

    Three weeks ago, he posted a gay slur on his Twitter account and questioned the competence of coach Todd Haley, drawing a two-week suspension. The Chiefs decided to cut ties with him rather than let him return.

    “It was just a relationship that was souring,” Johnson said. “And in Kansas City being in kind of a small market, and knowing every little thing I was going to say was going to be blown up to mythical proportions.”

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  • Varg6
    Ocho Cinco wants out of Cincy
    by Varg6
    Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson left no room for doubt Wednesday: He wants out of Cincinnati as fast as possible and he doesn't plan on reporting for any future Bengal function -- mandatory or voluntary.

    I want to be traded before the draft, and if that doesn't happen, I want to be traded as soon as possible. I don't intend on reporting to anything.
    --Chad Johnson
    What spurred Johnson's immediate reaction was a statement made by quarterback Carson Palmer that indicated Johnson had told Palmer he would be at the team's mandatory minicamp in mid-June. Johnson said that wasn't true.

    "I want to make this very clear,'' Johnson said Wednesday. "I don't know where he got that. I made no assertion to Carson that I would do that. Nothing has changed from what I've been saying for three months that I don't want to play for the Bengals.''

    Johnson made one of his strongest statements in saying he is not planning on reporting to any team functions because he wants to be traded.

    "I want to be traded before the draft, and if that doesn't happen, I want to be traded as soon as possible,'' Johnson said. "I don't intend on reporting to anything.''

    The Bengals said they have no comment in response to Johnson's statements. A team spokesman pointed to coach Marvin Lewis' statement at the owners meeting that he has fully discussed the Johnson situation and didn't feel it was productive to talk about it again.

    Johnson is skipping the team's offseason workouts as he tries to push for a trade. But the Bengals have also made it clear that they have no plans of trading him.

    Lewis has said repeatedly that the team has no plans to deal Johnson, despite the wide receiver making the rounds of radio and television talk shows to voice his displeasure about his situation in Cincinnati.

    In a February interview with Jim Rome, Johnson said he felt he was being blamed for the Bengals' problems and disappointing showing last season.

    "I'm not allowed to say. I get the blame; the so-called best player, I'm the problem," he said. "Someone in-house is spreading this. Maybe they want me to quiet down [and] stop being me. That is not going to happen. I can't function that way. I tried it. It sucked. There was no excitement."

    Last month, on ESPN's First Take, Johnson again hinted at wanting a trade.

    "I want to continue my career wherever I have the opportunity to win a playoff game and get to the Super Bowl. That's where I want to be," he said.

    Wednesday, the Pro Bowl wide receiver said he was surprised by Palmer's comments about his possibly reporting to mandatory...
    -04-16-2008, 03:31 PM
  • Nick
    Vermeil's remark upsets Johnson
    by Nick
    Vermeil's remark upsets Johnson
    Coach stands by his ‘diaper' comment
    The Kansas City Star
    Posted on Thu, Sep. 23, 2004

    Halfback Larry Johnson was upset at Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil's remark at his Tuesday news conference that it was time for Johnson “to take the diaper off and go play” because Priest Holmes' ankle injury is likely to keep him out of Sunday's game against Houston .

    “If the man can't say something in my face … it don't mean nothing to me,” Johnson said. “For him to say that, to point me out in that situation, (knowing) how much I really busted my (rear) through this preseason, knowing I'm ready to play, knowing I'm ready to do my share, making a comment like that is unnecessary.”

    Johnson has been unhappy over his lack of playing time almost since joining the Chiefs as their first-round draft pick last year. He vented at times last season but kept his frustration in check this year until Wednesday.

    If Holmes doesn't play, Johnson will back up Derrick Blaylock.

    “It's a little frustrating when they bring you here and they can't tell you whether you're going to play or you're not going to play,” Johnson said. “By no means am I going to stop going hard here and going hard every day in practice. It's just something that's frustrating right now and would be to anybody who's in my position.”

    Vermeil didn't back down from his comment.

    “I wasn't planning on saying that,” he said. “It just popped into my scrambled head. But in a way, there's a little truth to it.”
    -09-23-2004, 12:07 PM
  • Keenum
    Larry Johnson expected to play against Rams
    by Keenum
    Chiefs' Johnson hopes to play against Rams

    Star running back just got new contract

    Associated Press

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. --

    Eager to chip away the rust, Larry Johnson is bugging Herm Edwards to let him run the ball in Kansas City's final exhibition game against St. Louis at the Edwards Jones Dome on Thursday night.

    But the coach, still concerned about the conditioning of a Pro Bowl running back who didn't set foot on the practice field until a few days ago, may not be easy to sway.
    "We'll see," Edwards said after a brisk practice Sunday afternoon. "If he does, if he wants to play, it'll be real fast. Don't blink, one of those kind of things. We'll see where he's at."
    Johnson worked out diligently before ending his 25-day holdout and signing a six-year deal that includes a guaranteed $19 million, the richest contract in Chiefs history.
    But with the season opener looming on Sept. 9, he's worried.
    "You can run sprints all day, but if you're out there running plays -- cutting, dodging -- that can get you up quicker," Johnson said. "You've got to be able to cut and move and do some other things."
    Thursday night's game at St. Louis will be the last chance for the 0-3 Chiefs to pick up a preseason win.
    "Football shape is being able to cut, move, accelerate. Run plays and come back to the huddle, then 35 seconds and run another play," Johnson said. "You run sprints and jog two or three miles. But if you're not in football shape, that stuff doesn't do anything for you. It's all about being able to move around quicker and accelerate and make quick decisions. That's how you get in football shape.
    "I'd like to play the whole game. But they're not going to let that happen."
    He said he planned to lobby Edwards for some playing time.
    "He knows where my heart is. He knows if I put on the pads and warm up, I'm going to want to get a few snaps. We'll see."
    Johnson, who carried an NFL-record 416 times last year for a team-record 1,789 yards rushing, figures he's about a week away from being in "game shape."
    "I'm going to push myself as hard as I can tomorrow, to really push myself to a point where I may be exhausted," he said. "But I think it'll be better for me and for the team if I push myself as much as possible."
    He's hoping he can help a struggling offensive line find its rhythm, too. Backups Michael Bennett and Kolby Smith have had little room to run.
    "People who don't run behind them don't really understand the ins and outs," he said. "I told (left guard) Brian Waters if I was back there, I know what's going to happen. I know how to react on certain plays to help the offensive linemen out. Obviously, those running backs haven't been back there long enough to know if this would have...
    -08-30-2007, 01:34 PM
  • HUbison
    Jason Whitlock: Hip Hop Culture Hurting NFL
    by HUbison
    NFL truth: Hip-hop culture hurting NFL
    Jason Whitlock,

    You get one NFL Truth today. Watching Chad Johnson and Larry Johnson undermine their respective head coaches, Marvin Lewis and Herm Edwards, on Sunday gave me a singular focus, forced me to contemplate an uncomfortable truth.

    African-American football players caught up in the rebellion and buffoonery of hip hop culture have given NFL owners and coaches a justifiable reason to whiten their rosters. That will be the legacy left by Chad, Larry and Tank Johnson, Pacman Jones, Terrell Owens, Michael Vick and all the other football bojanglers.
    In terms of opportunity for American-born black athletes, they're going to leave the game in far worse shape than they found it.

    It's already starting to happen. A little-publicized fact is that the Colts and the Patriots — the league's model franchises — are two of the whitest teams in the NFL. If you count rookie receiver Anthony Gonzalez, the Colts opened the season with an NFL-high 24 white players on their 53-man roster. Toss in linebacker Naivote Taulawakeiaho "Freddie" Keiaho and 47 percent of Tony Dungy's defending Super Bowl-champion roster is non-African-American. Bill Belichick's Patriots are nearly as white, boasting a 23-man non-African-American roster, counting linebacker Tiaina "Junior" Seau and backup quarterback Matt Gutierrez.

    For some reason, these facts are being ignored by the mainstream media. Could you imagine what would be written and discussed by the media if the Yankees and the Red Sox were chasing World Series titles with 11 African-Americans on their 25-man rosters (45 percent)?

    We would be inundated with information and analysis on the social significance. Well, trust me, what is happening with the roster of the Patriots and the Colts and with Roger Goodell's disciplinary crackdown are all socially significant.

    Hip hop athletes are being rejected because they're not good for business and, most important, because they don't contribute to a consistent winning environment. Herm Edwards said it best: You play to win the game.

    I'm sure when we look up 10 years from now and 50 percent — rather than 70 percent — of NFL rosters are African-American, some Al Sharpton wannabe is going to blame the decline on a white-racist plot.

    That bogus charge will ignore our role in our football demise. We are in the process of mishandling the opportunity and freedom earned for us by Jim Brown, Walter Payton, Doug Williams, Mike Singletary, Gale Sayers, Willie Lanier and countless others. And those of us in the media who have rationalized, minimized and racialized every misstep by Vick, Pacman and T.O. have played an equal role in blowing it.

    By failing to confront and annihilate the abhorrent cultural norms we have allowed to grab our youth, we have in the grand...
    -10-18-2007, 02:20 PM
  • Guest's Avatar
    by Guest
    Running back and return specialist Chris Johnson had hoped to enter the NFL draft after his junior season at East Carolina.
    It was LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - There are two reasons Darren McFadden didn't have the fastest 40-yard dash among running backs at last month's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis:

    East Carolina's Chris Johnson and one of his friends.

    Johnson was content with the 4.29-second time posted on his first attempt and didn't plan to run again. But he then received a text message from University of South Florida cornerback Mike Jenkins, who was watching the workouts on TV.

    Jenkins relayed that McFadden — the star Arkansas rusher — had blazed an unofficial time of 4.27 seconds.

    "When I found that out," Johnson said, "I started warming up to run another 40."

    And did he.

    Johnson ran faster than all but one of the roughly 3,000 combine participants since electronic timing was adopted in 1999. He was clocked at 4.24 seconds, which easily bested McFadden's official time of 4.33.

    "I thought I was fast, but I didn't know I was that fast," Johnson said after a recent post-combine workout at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. "I would have been happy with anything in the 4.2s. It surprised me."

    Yet, Johnson's time didn't receive as much media buzz as the player he bested — and understandably so.

    McFadden enjoyed a more storied college career and entered the combine as the draft's top running back prospect. Johnson averaged an NCAA-best 227.7 all-purpose yards in 2007 but didn't face the same level of competition in Conference USA.

    Johnson said he isn't envious of all the attention McFadden has received. Instead, it has served as motivation.

    "I just knew I had to be the fastest one there to get any publicity," said Johnson, who is 3 inches shorter and 15 pounds lighter than the 6-foot-2, 210-pound McFadden. "It's a political thing. McFadden already is rated so high that for him to run a 4.33 was good on his part and helped his stock rise.

    "I'm in another situation. I'm a late first-round/early second-round guy. My time, I hope, rose me up."

    It definitely didn't hurt.

    "That's my first time ever running an electronic 40," Johnson said. "I've run a stop-watch 40 where I've had a 4.22 and 4.18. The electronic time is really accurate, so I was pretty happy with that."

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