"So, what [does] that make you, good? You're not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don't have that card. Me, I always tell the truth, even when I lie."
The above quote is part of Larry Johnson's introduction to a 610 Sports interview on February 3rd of this year. It comes from the movie Scarface with Al Pacino as Tony Montana. The subsequent interview with LJ is the last of any interaction with the Kansas City media.
Until he talked to Bill Williamson of ESPN.com in an item posted yesterday. Let's rewind to the 610 Sports interview before we hit his comments from yesterday.
First, he requested a change of scenery.
They can easily release me. They can easily trade me, he said.
And he was right. The Chiefs would pay LJ $8.8 million if he were traded and $8.2 million if they kept him. At $30+ million under the salary cap right now, the Chiefs certainly didn't need the money (though it's not my money to spend).
Of course, these comments were nothing new. In the season ending loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, LJ made his stance clear.
The city is tired of me, and the organization and I have run our course together. It's time to move on for me. There could be 100 changes. It's time for me to go.
He wanted out of Kansas City. At times he didn't want to leave his house. This, and other off-the-field problems, created a negative twist on Johnson's perception in the media.
He responds, That's not being a cancer. You get that information from guys who don't want me here.
Perception is still important. Sometimes you have to play the game. At the time, LJ hadn't talked to new GM Scott Pioli and said he didn't plan to. Well, that was then.
I want to be here because of Scott Pioli's commitment to winning. He has a no-nonsense approach and coach Haley's offensive system fits me. My decision to want to stay here is really based on what those guys are doing here.
That offensive scheme that doesn't fit him?
I think I fit their power running offense and I think I can be a workhorse in this system. I'm very excited about the opportunity here.
Many people have pointed to Todd Haley's affinity for the passing game in conversation about the 2009 offense. But Haley has reiterated the 'Best player will play', 'Warner over Leinart' line.
These guys are going to put the players on the field who can best help the team. They are not going to worry about four or five years down the road.
The team is committed to running the ball and I think I'll be a big part of it. I'm really happy to be part of it.
LJ has reportedly bonded with new running backs coach Maurice Carthon. It's important that he has that bond with someone because many times last season we heard reports that LJ was distant and standoff-ish with his teammates. Truthfully, we don't know if that's the case but that was the perception of him, which is sometimes just as important.
History says LJ is headed toward a quick downfall. And if that's the case we can really point to the beginning of the 2007 season as his decline. If he's on the field for 16 games, however, I'm on record (via Twitter) saying he will have a 1,000+ yard season.
Clark Hunt heard the 'LJ is excited' vibe back in March.
"It’s still my hope Larry will be a part of this team next season. We all saw the comments he made at the end of the season and repeated about a month later. Those were disappointing. Recently, I’ve heard he’s excited about being a Kansas City Chief again and expects to be in the offseason program and help us be successful."
What do you think about LJ heading into training camp?