College Blog Blog Network

Larry, spend some time in NE, fix you right up!

11.10.09 at 5:16 pm ET

On Monday, the Kansas City Chiefs released running back Larry Johnson, the day he was scheduled to return to the field after serving a two-week suspension for inappropriate comments he made on his Twitter feed and in the locker room.

Despite Johnson’s declining numbers in recent years, it is widely held that present-day LJ is still solid, or behind a good guard and tackle, can be the LJ of 2006, when he rushed for more than 1,700 yards on 416 carries. The question now: What team will take a chance on him? In recent history, the New England has become a place where players can spend some time competing for championship rings as well as rehabilitating their image. Since Bill Belichick took over the reins, several players have benefited from spending time at the “New England Patriots Image and Career Rehabilitation Center.”

Randy Moss is a player that immediately comes to mind. Moss’ issues began in college when a full scholarship to Notre Dame was rescinded when he got into a fight and ruptured the spleen of a student. Then coach of Notre Dame, Lou Holtz recommended Moss to Florida State, but he was kicked out of FSU for violating the terms of his work-release probation. Despite putting up school-record numbers at Marshall, Moss was drafted late in the first round because of the character issues he exhibited in his college career.

Let’s not forget the “Straight cash, homey” incident either ‘€” Moss’ refusal to obey traffic laws led to that memorable line and a few others. It was only a matter of time before he was traded to the Raiders from the Vikings in 2005. At the time, Minnesota appeared to be fed up with his antics, which included pretending to moon Green Bay fans and walking off the field with two seconds left in a regular season game loss against the Redskins. In Oakland, he was remembered for letting people know when he’ll play.

Yet when he came to New England, suddenly we saw a Randy Moss that reminded us of the player from the Vikings. He and Tom Brady not only torched opposing defenses but also set the record for most touchdown receptions in a season. You remember the catch in the regular-season game against the Giants, right?

At this point, not only is Moss considered one of the better wide receivers playing the game, but he also has the reputation of being a team player, something he was cultivating in Minnesota and never had in Oakland.

How about Brandon Meriweather? Here’s a player who had much potential coming out of the University of Miami. Then there was that on-field brawl with Florida International.

Meriweather is No. 19, prominently seen stomping a FIU player who is on the ground. While the incident hurt his draft stock, it wasn’t enough to deter the Patriots from picking him as the 24th overall selection. Obviously, the Pats know what they’re doing. Meriweather has been an excellent addition to the secondary and worth the accolades he has received.

While Moss and Meriweather generally benefited from playing in New England, Corey Dillon had a career resurgence upon arriving in Foxboro. The definition of a disgruntled player, Dillon is (in)famous for demanding to be traded to Dallas during a media session in the Bengals locker room. The beauty here, is that once he got to New England, he was no longer the petulant star but the hard-working team player, devoid of all the ego seen in Cincy.

Perhaps LJ can have the same type of resurgence as Dillon. With injuries to Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris, a tough-running, punishing back could be the perfect balance to Laurence Maroney’s scat-back style and Kevin Faulk’s third-down consistency.

As for the Patriots, why not turn another malcontent into a happy camper by putting him on a team with realistic Super Bowl aspirations? It’s not like Belichick is opposed to the idea, right?

Read More: Brandon Meriweather, Corey Dillon, Larry Johnson, New England Patriots