It’s interesting to watch what happens in the heat of an NFL moment. Take this past weekend. On one end, you had Chiefs RB Larry Johnson dissing his head coach after another loss via Twitter. On the other end, you had Cowboys LB Keith Brooking giving players and coaches from his former team, the Falcons, the verbal business to their faces.
With Johnson, it’s not a surprise. This only adds to his history of legal issues and personality run-ins with former coaches. His tweet-style, knee-capping of coach Todd Haley was very personal and it could have been in retaliation for something the emotional head coach said to him in private –- or maybe not-so-private — quarters. It also could simply be that Johnson reached a boiling point. It’s still something you don’t do without consequence.
Johnson is going to be disciplined -– it’s the only way Haley can keep credibility in the locker room –- but not only for calling out his coach. Johnson also uttered some homophobic slurs in the Twitter vacuum and toward reporters in the locker room on Monday, and there is a good chance the Chiefs and the NFL won’t tolerate that. They shouldn’t. If he said it then he should pay the price.
The irony of Johnson’s criticism of Haley is that a few weeks ago, Haley told me that he really thinks Johnson is still a good back who runs with a purpose. The coach also predicted that Johnson would break out soon, which is why he continued to give him touches, despite situations that might have been more favorable for passes or other play calls.
As for Brooking, he relished in Dallas’ physical smack-down of Atlanta on Sunday because the Falcons had cut him loose during the offseason. They thought he was too expensive and too old for how they envisioned their defense. Brooking jawed with the Falcons’ sideline several times and flapped his arms in Dirty Bird fashion for good measure. While there might have been some hard feelings on both sides, those will pass and Brooking, who spent 11 seasons as the heart and soul of the Falcons, will one day be enshrined on the team’s Ring of Honor.
I don’t think that will be the case in Kansas City with Johnson, though.