On Tuesday, the Chiefs suspended Larry Johnson without calling it a suspension.
On Wednesday, the Chiefs suspended Larry Johnson, and they called it one.
Per Kent Babb of the Kansas City Star, the team will be imposing a two-week suspension on Johnson, for conduct detrimental to the team.
The use of the term “week” could be significant, since Week Eight for the Chiefs is a bye. So he apparently will miss only one game, though he’ll lose two game checks.
Johnson possibly was hoping that the Chiefs would react to his recent assault, Twitter style, on coach Todd Haley and Johnson’s use of a homophobic epithet, both on Twitter and in the presence of reporters, by cutting him. If Johnson had been released, he would have been entitled to collect the balance of his $4.55 million base salary as termination pay, if no one claimed his contract on waivers. After clearing waivers, Johnson could have signed with a new team and pocketed both the salary from his new team and the termination pay.
The Chiefs presumably didn’t want to give Johnson full pay to walk away. Though they still might release him, they’ll save $568,750 by suspending him.
Johnson will be entitled to challenge the suspension by filing a grievance, which ultimately would be resolved via binding arbitration.
UPDATE: The Chiefs have announced the suspension. “The Kansas City Chiefs have suspended RB Larry Johnson for Conduct Detrimental to the Club effective immediately,” the team said in a statement. “Johnson will not be permitted to participate in any team activities or be on team premises until Monday, November 9th. The Chiefs will have no further comment on Johnson’s status at this time.”