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NFL: Week 9

Chiefs release Johnson

Off-field problems are factor in move

The Chiefs finally had enough of the often angry and sullen Larry Johnson, releasing him. The Chiefs finally had enough of the often angry and sullen Larry Johnson, releasing him. (File/Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
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Associated Press / November 10, 2009

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Larry Johnson’s roller coaster career as a Kansas City running back is over.

The Chiefs confirmed yesterday they had run out of patience with his off-the-field problems and released Johnson the day he was due to come back from his second suspension in a year.

Johnson, who turns 30 Nov. 19, was just 75 yards away from breaking Priest Holmes’s team rushing record.

“A part of him is excited and a part of him is very regretful,’’ Johnson’s agent, Peter Schaffer, said. “There’s a lot of feelings going on right now. It’s analogous to breaking up with a girlfriend. Maybe you saw it coming, but it still hurts when it happens.’’

A No. 1 draft choice out of Penn State in 2003, Johnson was one of the best running backs in the NFL in 2005 and 2006, rushing for more than 1,700 yards in each of those Pro Bowl seasons.

But often angry and sullen, he was dogged by controversy and frequently at odds with coaches and fans. On Oct. 25, in what turned out to be his final episode with the Chiefs (1-7), he posted on his Twitter account several insults to fans, questioned coach Todd Haley’s credentials, and used a gay slur.

He repeated the slur the next day to reporters and was suspended for two weeks.

Altercation eyed
DeAngelo Hall says he was only trying to help a teammate. Mike Smith says he was trying to restore order. So how did the Redskins cornerback and the Falcons coach end up in the middle of such an untidy scrum?

The NFL is trying to answer that question as it investigates the altercation in the second quarter of Atlanta’s 31-17 victory over Washington at the Georgia Dome Sunday. It’s anyone’s guess what fines or suspensions will result from the sequence of events that found former Falcons player Hall on the wrong sideline surrounded by a throng of wrong-color jerseys.

The commotion started when Redskins safety LaRon Landry was whistled for a late sideline hit on quarterback Matt Ryan. While Landry and Ryan were walking back on the field as if nothing major had happened, Hall - he wasn’t even involved in the play - was quickly surrounded by Atlanta players, Smith, and Falcons director of athletic performance Jeff Fish.

Panthers lose Davis
The injury-plagued Panthers (3-5) lost perhaps their most productive defensive player when tests showed weakside linebacker Thomas Davis has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Davis’s season-ending injury came without getting hit in Sunday’s loss to New Orleans. He was backpedaling when he stopped to plant and his knee buckled . . . Bengals receiver Chris Henry will miss the rest of the season after having surgery on his broken left forearm . . . Redskins running back Clinton Portis is recovering from a concussion Sunday and is doubtful for next week’s game against Denver . . . Backup Giants linebacker Gerris Wilkinson will be sidelined up to two months following surgery to repair a dislocated right wrist. Wilkinson was hurt in the second half of a 21-20 loss to the Chargers Sunday . . . Packers linebacker Aaron Kampman played most of Sunday’s loss at Tampa Bay with a concussion and his availability for Green Bay’s upcoming game against Dallas is unclear.

Edwards is ready
Bills quarterback Trent Edwards expects to be cleared to play this weekend after missing nearly a month recovering from a concussion. Edwards said he felt rested and refreshed after practicing in Buffalo’s first workout since a four-day break because of the bye week. He said he hasn’t been informed if he’ll start Sunday when Buffalo (3-5) plays at Tennessee (2-6). Bills coach Dick Jauron has not said whether Edwards will regain his starting job once healthy. Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick helped the Bills go 2-1 after Edwards was hurt in a 16-13 overtime win over the Jets Oct. 18 . . . If Tony Dungy believes Michael Vick would be a good fit in Buffalo, Donte Whitner is on board. Confident Vick can regain his once-dynamic form, the Bills safety said he would encourage his team to pursue Vick if the Eagles - who hold a $5.2 million option on the backup QB next season - decide to release Vick in the offseason. Whitner’s comment came a day after Dungy linked Vick and the Bills during NBC’s NFL pregame show.

Harris apologizes
Saying he was embarrassed and that he has to control himself, Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris apologized for throwing a punch at Cardinals offensive lineman Deuce Lutui. Harris was ejected on the fourth play from scrimmage of Sunday’s game after he and Lutui wound up on the ground on a run play . . . Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt is brushing aside wide receiver Anquan Boldin’s critical comments that followed the Cardinals’ 41-21 victory at Chicago. Boldin was limited in practice by an ankle injury. He warmed up for the game, felt good, and expected to play, only to find all his gear had been removed from his locker. “Nobody was man enough to come and tell me what was the situation,’’ Boldin said. Whisenhunt said he told Boldin shortly after the list of inactive players was submitted . . . Lions coach Jim Schwartz said there’s no feud between Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford. During Sunday’s loss to Seattle, cameras caught what appeared to be uncomfortable exchanges between the receiver and quarterback.

Cable to be evaluated
According to a report on ESPN.com, the NFL has triggered an evaluation process under the personal conduct policy for Raiders coach Tom Cable to determine whether he needs mandatory counseling related to any issues stemming from recent allegations of violence and domestic abuse, according to sources familiar with the league’s review . . . Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor was released on bond following his arrest in a Miami-area traffic accident. According to Miami-Dade County jail records, the former Giants star was charged Sunday with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, a second-degree misdemeanor. He was released on $500 bond later that night . . . The Buccaneers finally won their first game of the season, but safety Sabby Piscitelli still had a bad day. Police say burglars broke into his house in Tampa Sunday afternoon while he was playing the Packers at Raymond James Stadium, ransacked the place, and stole a TV.

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