Tomlin won't discuss released Larry Johnson

BY foxsports • November 10, 2009

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin isn't saying if the team has any interest in Larry Johnson, the former Penn State running back who was released by the Kansas City Chiefs. Still, the Steelers' answer appears to be the same as it was in 2003: Johnson isn't in their plans. Johnson, who has long wanted to play in Pittsburgh, was cut Monday after being suspended by Kansas City for the second time in a year. The Steelers have long stayed away from signing troubled players, and they appear to be set at running back with starter Rashard Mendenhall and backup Willie Parker. "I don't discuss free agents," Tomlin said Tuesday, only a few hours after the Steelers returned from their 28-10 victory in Denver on Monday night. "That opens Pandora's box. I tend to focus on the guys that are in our locker room." Tomlin made similar comments when quarterback Michael Vick was on the market last summer. The Steelers had no interest in Vick. The Chiefs cut Johnson - who was 75 yards short of breaking the team rushing record - two weeks after he posted a gay slur on Twitter, insulted fans and questioned the competence of coach Todd Haley. Haley's father, Dick, once was a Steelers executive. Johnson was benched for three consecutive games last season for violating team rules and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him a fourth game for violating the league's player-conduct policy. Johnson believed he was going to be drafted by Pittsburgh in 2003, but the Steelers traded with Kansas City to move up in the first round and take safety Troy Polamalu. Kansas City chose Johnson with the pick that was to have been Pittsburgh's, with the running back clearly upset he didn't go to the Steelers. Johnson was an all-state running back at State College (Pa.) High, which is located 135 miles from Pittsburgh. He stayed at home to play for Penn State, where he gained 2,087 yards in 2002.