Johnson, Chiefs far apart on contract

Star runner says he will sit out training camp if no new deal
Friday, June 22, 2007 | 1:05 a.m. CDT; updated 2:48 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 10, 2008

KANSAS CITY — Pro Bowl running back Larry Johnson says he’s ready to sit out the Chiefs’ training camp to resolve his request for a new contract, The Kansas City Star reported Thursday.

In an interview with Star columnist Jason Whitlock, Johnson said his agent, Alvin Keels, and his family have taken steps to save money in case of a hold out.

“I’m prepared,” Johnson said. “They (my agent and father) got me saving money. I’m hustling to get more money to put in the bank. They already started setting aside different accounts, if that would have to happen.”

Johnson said he expects the Kansas City Chiefs won’t immediately settle on new terms.

“He’s going to test me,” Johnson said of team president Carl Peterson.

Both Peterson and head coach Herm Edwards were traveling Thursday and unavailable for comment, said team spokesman Pete Moris.

Johnson is seeking an extension to the seven-year deal he inked in 2003, which he can void down to a five-year deal after the final game of the 2007 season because of play-time incentives.

The fifth-year player is scheduled to earn $1.7 million this season.

“The point I’d like to get out is that if we were to have to hold out, it would be for the sake of good business, not being greedy,” Keels told The Star. “It’s not good business for him to come back in and play for $1.7 million. And that’s a sensitive area because $1.7 million is a lot more than most people in Kansas City make.”

Keels said denied reports that Johnson has asked for an eight-year, $80- to $90-million deal, saying Johnson is “seeking a deal that is in line with today’s market.”

“From a business standpoint, Larry would like a fair-market contract extension before the start of the season,” Keels said. “I can’t say that we are close to a deal now, but Larry wants to be a Chief for life and the Chiefs are a great organization, and I am optimistic that we will come to an agreement.”

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