Larry Johnson’s introductory press conference went off without a hitch. L.J. said all the right things about embracing any role. Coach Marvin Lewis called him a “very smart” player with “great abilities and tools.”
It’s unclear if Johnson will suit up this week against the Raiders, but he has another date on the calendar circled. The Bengals host the Chiefs on December 27.
“I’d be lying if I said I ain’t looking at that as a game I want to
definitely play in,” Johnson said. “But we take it game at a time, one
situation at a time, I’m just trying to get on the field as of right
now, if that happens, it’d be the best Christmas gift I can get.” (Chiefs fans might argue that facing L.J. would be a gift for their struggling defense.)
Cedric Benson’s status for this week’s game is uncertain, but the team’s starter embraced Johnson’s signing on Sirius XM radio Tuesday.
“It’s good for him. I was once in that position and he’s getting his opportunity again,”
Benson said. “If he can help the team in a positive way
then I’m all for that.”
That’s the real question: Is the 30-year-old version of Larry Johnson truly a help or will he just be a big name on the end of the bench like Shaun Alexander in Washington last year? Johnson must prove he’s still got game, but says he won’t be a problem in the locker room.
“I’ve never broken up a team or a locker room or anything like that.
I’m pretty much a locker room player guy first,” Johnson said.
It would be interesting to hear if Dick Vermeil, Herm Edwards, and Todd Haley agreed with that assessment.