Published: November 10th, 2009 | Tags: Bill Belichick, Bob McNair, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Jason La Canfora, Larry Johnson, Mike Tomlin, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers
Let the speculation begin. As reported earlier by NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora, former Chiefs RB Larry Johnson cleared waivers Tuesday and is now officially a free agent. And, of course, teams are already being discussed as having interest in his services.
La Canfora noted, via a team source, that the Houston Texans appear to be Johnson’s most likely landing spot. The New England Patriots and Washington Redskins have also called to express interest, according to league sources.
So the Larry Johnson Watch (LJW) is on. You can just see it now: Teams will be linked to Johnson (rightfully so or not) and will publicly deny interest.
In Houston, owner Bob McNair addressed the possibility of adding Johnson with reporters Tuesday. He said the first determinition to be made is whether they believe Johnson could help the team. Then it’s a matter of whether Johnson can fit in the locker room and not be a distraction.
“I’ve read what you’ve read,” McNair said when asked if Johnson’s background is a concern. “I haven’t really studied it to see, but that’ll be an issue for us. It will be something that we’ll look at very seriously. What it will come down to is, clearly, he doesn’t have as clean a record as the rest of our guys and what we’re looking for.
“The questions would be is this someone that might be a disruptive force in our locker room? Or is it someone who with the proper supervision and being around good guys is manageable? That will be a decision, if we reach the point where we say number one, ‘We want him as a player,’ then it would reach that point of will there be other issues there that would be too important for us to overlook.”
It’s more than a decent bet that GMs and teams around the league are approaching Johnson, who turns 30 this month, in similar fashion.
In New England, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was more coy, but divulged in a conference call with reporters the team would at least discuss signing Johnson.
“We’ll discuss that organizationally this afternoon,” Belichick said. “We’ll decide then if there’s anything we want to do.”
Despite an initial call from his agent, the Bears have decided against adding Johnson, a source tells La Canfora. Two other teams where dots could be connected — the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets — appear to be out. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin refused to discuss free agents earlier Tuesday, and the Steelers declined interest after being approached by Johnson’s agent, Peter Schaffer. The Jets also have no interest despite losing Leon Washington for the season, sources tell La Canfora.
That’s the latest on the LJW.