The Kansas City Chiefs released RB Larry Johnson on Monday, the same day he was eligible to return to the team following a one-week suspension.
The Chiefs still owe Johnson, whose contract runs through the 2012 season, $2.275 million — the remaining portion of his $4.55 million salary this season. He missed a paycheck on Sunday after being suspended for making gay slurs.
Johnson first posted the slur on his Twitter account after also questioning coach Todd Haley‘s credentials. He then repeated the slur the next day to reporters.
That apparently was the last straw for the Chiefs, who have had a tumultuous relationship with their running back throughout his seven seasons with the club. Last year he was involved in two nightclub incidents, which resulted in him being benched for three games by coach Herm Edwards and suspended an additional game by the NFL.
In 2007, a year after running the ball an NFL single-season record 416 times for a Chiefs-record 1,789 rushing yards, he threatened to sit out training camp unless his contract was redone. He was eventually given a six-year, $45 million extension ($19 million guaranteed) that at the time made him the highest-paid running back in the league, based on average salary per year. It was also the richest contract in Chiefs history.
Johnson’s career with the Chiefs got off to a rocky start soon after he was taken in the first round (27th overall) of the 2003 draft. He had several run-ins with then-coach Dick Vermeil, who publicly criticized his rookie by saying Johnson needed to grow up and “take the diapers off.”
In 75 games (55 starts) with Kansas City, Johnson rushed 1,375 times for 5,996 yards with 55 touchdowns. He also registered 151 receptions for 1,369 yards with six touchdowns. He concluded his Chiefs career with 30 100-yard rushing games and also added two 100-yard receiving games.