[Kansas City.com] L.J. is growing. His teammates say so.
Once dubbed a loner, and an occasional pouter, Larry Johnson tears through tacklers, springs to his feet and is the first in the huddle. He’ll be a major contributor to the Chiefs’ offense, offensive coordinator Al Saunders said Thursday. He’s blossomed, Saunders says.
After hearing the group lovefest late Thursday, Johnson, with a straight face, said he hasn’t changed much at all.
“I’ve still got an attitude problem,” he said. “I still feel the same I’ve always felt. I see the draft, I see guys like Cedric Benson, Carnell Williams, all those guys who have a chance to be starters on their teams. I’m just looking for my chance.”
“I don’t want to waste three or four years of my prime running behind somebody, period. I don’t care who it is. I feel like I should start somewhere in this league.”
“I’m ready to get my career on the road. There are some goals and things in my career that I want to shoot for as far as Walter Payton’s yardage and Emmitt (Smith) and all those things they got a chance to do. I just want my chance to do it.”
Saunders says Johnson will get his chances this fall. After starting 2004 as the No. 3 running back behind Derrick Blaylock, Johnson has solidified the No. 2 spot and will get significant playing time in Saturday night’s third preseason game against Seattle.
His work, Saunders said, will depend on the opponent. Johnson said he’ll do more passing routes and dabble at fullback. That’s all in the game plan, he said. Johnson is just happy he’s in the game plan.
He said he never blamed anybody, not the coaches, the front office or Holmes. He just blamed the situation. Guard Brian Waters said it was a tough situation for any rookie to handle. And that Johnson has grown from it.
“I’ve seen him since the first day he was here when he was a rookie until now,” Waters said. “And he’s a totally different football player. He’s motivated, he’s hungry, and he runs with passion.”