|Patriots officials talk about Larry Johnson||11.10.09 at 1:10 pm ET|
Patriots officials remained noncommittal Tuesday afternoon when asked about the possibility of the franchise making a move to acquire running back Larry Johnson.
On a conference call with area reporters, coach Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio both addressed Johnson, who was released by the Chiefs earlier this week, by saying that they will talk as an organization, and then come to a decision.
“We’ll discuss that organizationally this afternoon,” Belichick said. “We’ll decide then if there’s anything we want to do. To be honest with you, we’ve just been focused on Indianapolis, and our pro people are figuring that out.
“We kind of do that every week at this time. Our pro people go through the guys that are available, whether it’s waivers or teams that have injuries or changes to a guy’s status or guys we want to work out or other teams work out. After all that, it’s not just about one guy, but after all that gets done, we’ll talk about the whole thing in a group and what our plans are for the whole week. Whether it’s to work a guy out or claim a guy or talk to his representative, whatever happens. That’s something we’ll do between now and 4 o’clock.”
A first-round pick of the Chiefs out of Penn State in 2003, the 30-year-old has 5,996 career rushing yards in seven years with Kansas City. However, he has struggled as of late, playing in just 27 games in the past three seasons due to injuries, and had just 358 yards on 2.7 yards per carry in seven games this season before being cut loose by Kansas City.
A report on ProFootballTalk.com quoted a source as saying that if Johnson clears waivers on Tuesday, then the Patriots would be interested.
New England has been without injured running backs Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor the last couple of weeks because of injuries, leaving Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis as the rushing options. However, Caserio delivered an endorsement of the Patriots running game Tuesday afternoon, saying, “We’re happy with our running backs.”
On Monday’s “Big Show,” Belichick said he would “doubt” the Patriots would pursue Johnson.
“Well, I haven’t seen the wire but I assume he’ll be on there — I would doubt it,” Belichick said of Johnson. “First of all, I think a player like that that’s on the wire, similar to [wide receiver] Chris Chambers who came on last week, somebody will get ahead of us. Even if we claim him, I doubt that we would get him. We have to decide whether we would want him or not. Maybe that’s something we’ll talk about, but I would think he’d be claimed before he would get to us.”
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