The Larry Johnson story was nice. You know, former star turned washout realizes the terrible error of his off-field ways and, after much soul-searching, transforms himself as a person, and after tons of hard work finds a new team. And then he becomes a better player than he ever was.
Yeah, really cool stuff.
Except Johnson is still working on the script. He is obviously a different person and he has found a roster spot with the Dolphins. So far, so good. But that is pretty much where the story is meeting a Haloti Ngata-Vince Wilfork-Cullen Jenkins type gang tackle.
Johnson has not been able to recapture his 1,700-yard rusher form -- not that he's gotten much of an opportunity. He has only 2 yards on one carry this season. And with rookie Daniel Thomas getting more and more confidence and more and more healthy with each passing day, Johnson's days on the roster may be numbered.
At this point it seems Johnson's status is directly tied to the team's injury situation.
If the Dolphins need to fill a roster spot to tighten up a position lessened by injuries -- say, cornerback, for example -- Johnson's roster spot might be at stake.
If Charles Clay (hamstring) is finally healthy enough to become active, Johnson's roster spot might be at stake.
If the Dolphins feel the need to add more help at defensive line because Tony McDaniel isn't available, but they don't want to yet put McDaniel on injured reserve, Johnson's roster spot might be at stake.
Yes, his one-year deal is guaranteed. So the Dolphins are on the hook for the contract, which I assume was a split deal. But sometimes a team swallows the money and makes the moves necessary to meet its needs.
And with every passing injury, with every ounce of improvement that Clay makes, every ounce of confidence that Thomas gains, the less it seems the Dolphins will value Johnson as an insurance policy at RB.