Larry Johnson was drafted in the first round with the 27th overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. It was known when Johnson was selected that he was a little socially awkward and that he would require special attention to be kept happy.
Johnson felt that he did not have to follow the same rules as everyone else. Johnson was incredibly gifted, and because of this he felt entitled. Johnson was a natural on the football field. With a rare combination of size, strength and vision, Johnson was simply able to do things few backs before him could do.
Due to his lack of playing time, Johnson became a handful for then Head Coach Dick Vermeil. Johnson publicly pouted and complained, which eventually led to the ever famous “take the diapers off” comment from Vermeil.
Johnson got an opportunity to start after the all-time great Chiefs running back Priest Holmes was injured. Johnson became the first player in NFL history to begin his career rushing for 150 yards in each of his first three games.
From there Johnson’s career took off.
In 2005 and 2006 Johnson set the NFL on fire. In 2005 Johnson had 20 touchdowns and rushed for 1,750 yards. In 2006, when Johnson set the NFL attempts record with 416 carries, he had 17 touchdowns and 1,789 yards rushing.
At one point Johnson had signed the largest contract in Kansas City Chiefs history, which would make him, at the time, one of the highest paid NFL RBs. However, Johnson would not see the end of that contract and his bad attitude would eventually cost himself the all-time rushing record for the Chiefs franchise.
From Vermeil to Herm Edwards to now Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley, Johnson found a way to anger them all.
Johnson had been arrested several times on charges of violence towards women, with one incident involved him waving a gun at an ex girlfriend. Johnson was also involved in an incident at a Kansas City night club where he allegedly spit a drink in a woman’s face.
Johnson became the first player to be told to stay away from his team because of a violation through Twitter. Johnson used several gay slurs and questioned Head Coach Todd Haley’s resume as a golf pro.
It is almost a shame to see so much talent and ability thrown away because of a bad attitude. Johnson could have been a legend in Chiefs history if he would have just kept his mouth shut and let his body of work do the talking.
Only time will tell how Larry Johnson will be received in the Kansas City area and how he will be ranked among the Chiefs all-time greats. There is no denying that his stats were amazing as he carried the team up until his last season in a Chiefs uniform.