The last time the Indianapolis Colts opted to unceremoniously dump starting defensive tackle Ed Johnson, they did so after he was arrested for marijuana possession.
This time around, the team says that the move came for different reasons.
“I know that some might be wondering whether or not it was a character issue. It was not,” coach Jim Caldwell said, according to the Indianapolis Star.
“Probably, just over all, I’d probably like to like to just keep it
rather general and say it was production, it was a lack thereof,” Caldwell added.
Regardless of whether that’s the truth, the Colts likely learned from their last experience with Ed Johnson that the best way to deal with player terminations based on off-field conduct is to claim that it was due to on-field contribution or lack thereof. That way, the Colts can avoid grievances based on a decision to take action against a player for behavior that falls within the exclusive province of the league office.
And even if the Colts cut Johnson this time because of his performance, the perception of his poor performance likely was tied to his off-field habits.
“He’s fat and lazy,” one source opined. And we wouldn’t be surprised to eventually learn that Johnson has recently tested positive for marijuana.
We’re definitely not saying that Johnson has tested positive for marijuana, or that he has ever smoked it. We’re only saying that news of a positive test (in light of his history) on the heels of the Colts’ decision to cut Johnson wouldn’t surprise us.
UPDATE: We’re told that Johnson definitely did not test positive for marijuana, and that marijuana was not an issue in the decision.