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Larry Johnson

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Not many players have had a full season like Larry Johnson's half year in 2005.

The Kansas City Chiefs running back and former Nittany Lion had been waiting for his chance to step out of Priest Holmes’ shadows for good and when finally given the chance, Johnson certainly did not disappoint.

When he was drafted in the first round of the ‘03 NFL Draft out of Penn State University as insurance for Holmes, head coach Dick Vermeil wasn’t necessarily thrilled about the selection. Vermeil wanted a defensive player to go with his already powerful offense, but the rest of the front office saw differently and went with Johnson. After only giving him 20 carries in his rookie season, the tension between the Vermeil and Johnson grew.

In ‘04, Vermeil told him to “take the diapers off,” which was reference to Johnson possibly having to play in an up-and-coming game while injured. As imagined, Johnson did not take lightly to the comment.

He wasn’t even Holmes’s back up either. That duty fell to Derrick Blaylock and once him and Holmes suffered injuries in ‘05, Vermeil had no choice but to turn to Johnson full time.

After carrying the ball 120 times for 581-yards and nine touchdowns in ’04, Johnson played in all 16 regular season games for the Chiefs in ’05. To say the young man blew up the stats sheet would be a severe understatement. By the end of the season, Johnson had nine consecutive games with 100-plus rushing yards and broke the century mark in every start for the Chiefs that season, eventually earning himself a Pro Bowl selection.

Even though he didn’t even start in seven of the 16 games, Johnson set a new franchise record for rushing yards in one season with 1,750, eclipsing a mark previously held by Holmes. Not only was he amazing on the ground, but Johnson was also very productive as a receiver too, gaining 343 yards on 33 receptions. In one game against the Houston Texans in November, Johnson had 211-yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Vermeil retired after the ’05 season, which made room for a new front man. Former New York Jets head coach Herm Edwards took over in Kansas City in ’06 and immediately named Johnson his starter at running back.

Johnson started 16 games for the Chiefs last year, rushing for a career high 1,789 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also added 410 receiving yards and two touchdowns through the air. While he had a great season, many will remember the way Johnson was completely stuffed in the postseason against the Indianapolis Colts. Indy, know for its poor tackling and penchant for getting shredded on the ground, held Johnson to only 32 yards on 13 carries.

In 2007, LJ unfortuantely suffered a season-ending injury when he broke his foot in the Chiefs' 33-22 loss to the Packers in Week 9. He's expected to fully recover in time for the 2008 season.


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Kansas City Chiefs Official Player Bio: Larry Johnson
Career notes, photos and stats on Larry Johnson can be found at the Official Website of the Kansas City Chiefs. Player Profile: Larry Johnson
Find a small profile, game logs, stats and merchandise on Larry Johnson 

Rotoworld Player Page: Larry Johnson has some of the best fantasy reporting and advice on the web. Click on the “Previous News” tab to get current and past information on Larry Johnson for your fantasy football team. 

Larry Johnson Wikipedia Page
Find a comprehensive background on Larry Johnson’s life and football career at

Latest on Johnson

Johnson suffered a broken bone in his foot during the Chiefs’ 33-22 loss to the Packers in Week 9. He missed the entire rest of the season and the Chiefs' offense struggled mightly without him in the backfield.


News and Commentary

Larry Johnson’s record night lifts Chiefs
This article is from November '05 when Johnson rushed for 211-yards and two scores in a record night against the Houston Texans.

Chiefs Larry Johnson arrested
There is never a shortage of pro athletes getting arrested; this article is from Sporting about Johnson getting arrested for assault on his girlfriend.

Johnson chafed over Vermeil’s ‘diaper’ remark
This article is from '04, when the head coach Dick Vermeil told Larry Johnson to “take the diapers off” in reference to Johnson possibly being forced into action even if injured.


Larry Says

On if he's physically ready to carry the full rushing load:
“Yeah, I can’t sit here and say no. I’m the person they count on to carry the ball the majority of the time. It has to be done regardless of whether it’s 50 times or 100 times. When you get down deep in the playoff race, you can’t sit here and say you’re tired. You’ll have about three or four months of relaxation after the Super Bowl to say you’re tired but this isn’t the time to do it.”

On being infamous told by former Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil to 'take the diapers off' and play injured:
"I don't need no motivation. If I need motivation, I'll talk to my father. I don't need another grown man telling me I need to take the diapers off."

"That's not how I've been raised, and I don't need no motivation from anybody. I'm self-motivated because my father taught me to be that way."

"I don't really listen to that kind of stuff. If the man can't say something in my face, that's how I feel. It don't mean nothing to me."