The Dolphins have announced on their twitter feed they have signed running back Larry Johnson. So much for those tentative first-and-goal runs.
Johnson, 31 years old, hasn't had a productive season since 2008 when he gained 874 yards. That was also the same year the stuff hit the fan for him. He was suspended by the Chiefs for violating unspecified team rules. He was also suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell for one game that season. Hmmm.
The next year Johnson was critical of Chiefs coach Todd Haley, which as you might guess, led to his suspension for conduct detrimental to the club. The Chiefs cut Johnson when his suspension ended.
Johnson bounced to the Bengals in 2009 in late November and then went to the Redskins in March of 2010 as a free agent. That didn't last. He was cut in September and was out of work the rest of the season.
Johnson has been arrested four times since 2003 on various assault charges against women. In 2003, he was arrested for assault and domestic battery for brandishin a gun at his then-girlfriend, during an argument at his home. The charges were dropped when Johnson agreed to participate in a domestic violence diversion program. In 2005, he was again arrested for assault when a woman accused Johnson of pushing her to the ground, but the case was dropped after the alleged victim failed to appear in court for three different hearing.
His third arrest for assault came on February 24, 2008, after allegedly pushing a woman's head at a nightclub that night. On October 10, 2008, Johnson was arrested for the fourth time and charged with one count of non-aggravated assault for allegedly spitting a drink in a woman's face at a Kansas City nightclub on October 11. Johnson tried to flee the scene but police officers tackled him.
The Dolphins have been in the market for a running back for some time. Today they worked out Clinton Portis. They also worked out Tiki Barber three weeks ago, around the time they worked out Johnson.
They are obviously:
Not comfortable with their current RB situation, which has rookie Daniel Thomas behind Reggie Bush. A couple of weeks ago, coach Tony Sparano admitted in a column I wrote that he was "nervous" about the running back situation.
Miami's running back corps delivered an unspectacular performance around the goal line on four first-and-goal runs against the Panthers, probably pushed the team over the edge.
Is Johnson going to be the guy who gained over 1,700 yards in both 2005 and 2006? No.
But I guess checking him out for the next couple of weeks cannot hurt a team looking to upgrade in the backfield.