Before we get to today's LJ story, let's jump back to the running back's Week 17 post-game quotes:
"Hopefully, my future is not with this organization. It’s not (the Chiefs’) fault. Half of it is mine. Half of it is my off-the-field situation and other things that occurred."
Further into the conversation, Johnson became more blunt:
"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."
Whether or not Larry Johnson was expecting the changes that occurred in Kansas City over the next two months, it seemed clear that he wanted out of KC as soon as possible.
Johnson had previously said he wanted to be traded. However, [Larry Johnson's] agent Peter Schaffer pointed out that Johnson is now interested in playing for the new Chiefs regime. Schaffer said, as an act of good faith, Johnson attended the Chiefs' offseason workout program that began Monday.
What changed in the last few months? Apparently, as ESPN's Bill Williamson points out, Larry Johnson's issues are with the former, Herm Edwards led Chiefs and not with new GM Scott Pioli and new head coach Todd Haley. Back at the combine, Haley told reporters that every player had a "clean slate" with him and that everyone would be evaluated with that as the starting point. Apparently, that's good enough for Larry Johnson and his agent. Talks with the new Chiefs' brass must have left Larry feeling at least optimistic about his future role with the team in order to reconsider staying in Kansas City.
Are there financial advantages for Larry Johnson by staying in KC? Not really. The Chiefs and LJ are meeting tomorrow to discuss $3.75 million in guaranteed money that the team is trying to get back. The Chiefs are claiming that the one-game suspension that Larry Johnson received from the NFL last year for violating the league's personal-conduct policy is a breach of his contract and frees them from having to pay the rest of the guaranteed money. LJ doesn't win any points with the Chiefs' brass by saying he's open to being a Chief right before the grievance hearing. It sounds like the team is ready to stick it to him for the $3.75 million no matter what.
If Todd Haley does ultimately want Larry Johnson on this team, should we take a wait-and-see approach? Or are we still sick of Larry Johnson's antics in spite of this recent revelation that he's open to staying in KC?
Right now, as much as I want him gone and have wanted him gone, I find myself agreeing with Primetime- Run him until the wheels fall off. Get what we can, while we can out of him. If he continues to become a distraction, it's not a big deal to take the quite small salary cap hit, even if the Chiefs don't win the salary grievance tomorrow.
Sit tight Chiefs fans. The Larry Johnson saga will hopefully be over soon. We find out about this salary grievance tomorrow. In the meantime, check out the newly redesigned SB Nation player page for LJ.