Peter King of Sports Illustrated appeared on 610 Sports yesterday afternoon and touched on the Larry Johnson situation with the Kansas City Chiefs. He is not reporting anything at this point but made a guess on what would happen with the settlement/appeal and LJ's future with the team:
King believes there will be an agreement on a settlement between the two sides as early as today.
"I would expect that sometime today (Friday) probably," he said, "or maybe tomorrow, that there's going to be a settlement in this case announced. The reason is that I don't think the Chiefs want to take it all the way to the end and I'm not sure Larry and his agent, Peter Schaffer, want to take it all the way to the end, nor does the league want to drag this out."
King also believes, as many of us do, that there's no way LJ plays in the Chiefs next game, November 8th, against Jacksonville. He cites the lack of preparation time as a reason.
He also touches on a topic that hasn't been a focal point but isn't because of the slurs LJ used. He says the player attacked the fans, which one of the 'Do Not Do' rules of professional sports.
"I also think that one of the things that really got the team," he says, "was the fact that he sorta maligned the fans in talking about the $5 an hour guy, 'Go back to your $5/hour job' or whatever. One of the reasons they're doing this is they want to be supportive of their fans because they feel as much as anything else he was lighting into the fans with his reactions over the last few days."
After the jump, King addresses whether LJ will play for the Chiefs again.
King believes LJ will indeed suit up for the Chiefs again this season.
"I don't think it's going to get that far," when asked if a settlement will mean the end of LJ in Kansas City. "This is just my guess, but first of all, I think one thing you don't want to do when you're establishing a new team, is give players on the team who might be dissatisfied with where they are, you don't want to give them a blueprint with a way to shoot their way out of town."
Certainly a slippery slope indeed. What's the balance between disciplining a player for actions the team deems unacceptable and "giving in" to a player that's unhappy?
"I do believe that Johnson will be back on this team, probably after the Jacksonville game, and that he probably will play again," he said. "In a perfect world if contracts weren't guaranteed I'm not sure that would be it. Surely, the Chiefs don't want to pay Larry Johnson two-and-a-half, or however many millions of dollars they owe him for the rest of this year, to go home or play somewhere else.
"I think probably, if I had to guess right now, he'd be back after that Jacksonville game and he'd be on this team for the rest of the year."
This sorta meshes with what we've been hearing from LJ's agent, Peter Schaffer. He spoke with ESPN.com's Bill Williamson on Friday night and said that LJ being released as part of the settlement "hasn't come up."
There you have it. Most suggest that no matter what happens, LJ will never suit up in a Chiefs uniform again. King and Schaffer believe otherwise.