File this one under not fair: Larry Johnson, who was canned by the Chiefs last week after a few years’ worth of incidents that concluded with some coach-ripping and homophobia, has reportedly caught on with the Bengals. Yes, the AFC North leading Bengals. Last year signing with Cincinnati would’ve been sweet justice; this year it’s a the exact opposite.
Cincinnati is known for giving players second-chances — Cedric Benson, for one, was banished from Chicago after three disappointing seasons and a couple of arrests last summer, only to catch on with the Bengals and emerge as one of the NFL’s top running backs. With Benson’s status up in the air after suffering a hip injury Sunday, Johnson was brought in to add some insurance to the team’s backfield.
I think second chances are great, but Johnson is actually well past that point. L.J. was fortunate to get a shot in the first place when he was arrested for waving a gun at his girlfriend prior to his rookie season in 2003, then was given a second life in the NFL after shoving another woman to the floor in an argument in 2005. He was arrested twice in 2008 — once for pushing a woman into a wall at a nightclub in February and another time for spitting his drink in a woman’s face in October. That leaves him on about his sixth chance, so why bother?
Assuming Benson is good to go (he says he should be ready to play this weekend), there really isn’t too much damage L.J. can do in Cincinnati. Still, it’s a shame to see him catch on with a playoff team, let alone any team in the NFL.