Lewis confirms Bengals’ interest in Johnson

Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis confirmed Monday that free agent RB Larry Johnson will visit the team for a workout. When exactly that will be, though, he isn’t saying.

NFL.com’s Steve Wyche reported earlier Johnson will work out for the Bengals on Monday and could be signed if he passes a physical and impresses team officials, according to a team source.

Johnson was released by the Chiefs on Nov. 9 following a suspension for posting inflammatory comments regarding coach Todd Haley on his Twitter account and using gay slurs on Twitter and the following day toward reporters.

Lewis said he spoke with Johnson, who believes he still has a lot of game left, last week.

“It’s one of the things I told Larry. We’d judge him on his future and not his past,” Lewis said when asked about Johnson’s off-field track record.

The Bengals’ interest in Johnson coincides with the injury to starting RB Cedric Benson, who suffered a hip injury in a win over Pittsburgh.

NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora is reporting that Johnson’s visit to Cincinnati was at the behest of Lewis, according to a league source. The Bengals are among a handful of teams to have expressed interest in the free-agent running back, and Lewis wanted to meet with the oft-troubled former Pro Bowler before any potential deal would be struck.

The Bengals have been trying to get away from their image as a team full of problem players and don’t want to do anything to poison what has been a happy-go-lucky locker room this season with the team’s shocking rise to first place in the AFC North. With Benson ailing, Johnson has some on-field allure, but the club wants to assess any turbulence Johnson might bring with him.

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