Larry Johnson, a former All-Pro running back with the Kansas City Chiefs whose short career saw unbelievable highs and disturbing lows both on and off the field, was arrested on Friday in Las Vegas, Nevada.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Johnson, 32, was arrested at the Bellagio in Las Vegas after a fight with his former girlfriend, also 32. The paper reported that the woman suffered injuries to her face and bruising on her neck, and that Johnson had small scratches on his face.
The police report of the incident also says that Johnson reportedly threatened a hotel security guard by shouting, “I’ll rip your f*cking vocal cords out!“
A first-round draft pick of the Chiefs in 2003, Johnson’s career got off to a rocky start when then-head coach Dick Vermeil, famously complained that the former Penn State star had trouble taking simple hand-offs from quarterback Trent Green. Later, Vermeil uttered one of the most famous one-liners ever from a Chiefs coach when he was discussing Johnson stepping up his production for the team. “It’s time to take the diapers off,” quipped Vermeil.
From the somewhat inauspicious beginnings, Johnson then exploded on the NFL scene and became an All-Pro in 2005 and 2006. He holds and still holds the all-time NFL record for carries in a season, with 416 in 2006. For the Chiefs, Johnson holds several rushing records including the top two rushing yards for a season (2005-2006) performances, most rushing yards in consecutive seasons, most games with 100 yards rushing for a season (11 in 2006) and most consecutive games with 100-yards rushing (2005).
But Johnson will forever be remembered in Kansas City as a sullen, selfish player that could not (or would not) connect with the local fan base. At the time, General Manager, Carl Peterson, chose to give Johnson a huge contract extension over his infinitely more popular teammate, defensive end Jared Allen, and eventually traded Allen to Minnesota for draft picks. To say that Chiefs fans never forgave Peterson for that move is a bit of an understatement.
Johnson, for his part, thanked Peterson for making him filthy rich by allegedly recording a rap song that contained the line, “F*ck Carl Peterson” over and over and over again. Johnson denied that it was him on the recording.
Johnson’s career collapsed in Kansas City and his next coach, Herm Edwards, suspended him three games in 2008 for violating team rules. Both Edwards and Peterson were let go that off-season and Johnson received another game suspension in 2009 from the league.
With his last head coach in KC, Todd Haley, Johnson openly questioned his qualifications to be a football coach and tweeted an unrelated gay slur on his Twitter account around the same time. That was the last straw for the organization and Johnson was released.
At the time, Johnson’s performance on the field was abysmal as the former All-Pro was averaging under 3-yards per carry, blaming his offensive line for lack of support. Ironically, the third-round pick Peterson picked up from Minnesota in the Allen trade, running back Jamaal Charles, took over as the starter and immediately averaged over 5-yards per carry behind the exact same line. That’s weird, huh???
Johnson briefly played for the Bengals, Redskins and Dolphins after that, appearing in 10 games with the three teams. He is currently without a job in the NFL.
Johnson is expected to remain in jail until going before a judge on Saturday morning. There is no word on the identity or condition of the victim in the case other than it being a former girlfriend.
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