Larry Johnson was released by the Washington Redskins on Tuesday after gaining just 2 yards on five carries in two games.
Johnson was one of three accomplished running backs to attend Redskins training camp this summer, and now two of them are gone. Willie Parker was cut at the end of preseason, and Clinton Portis has remained Washington's No. 1 back.
"We appreciate Larry's attitude and contributions to the Redskins," executive vice president/general manager Bruce Allen said in a statement released by the team. "However, we needed to make a roster move in preparation for this week's game against the Rams."
That roster move was agreeing to terms with Chad Simpson, a third-year running back who was cut by the Buffalo Bills at the end of preseason. Unlike Johnson, Simpson is known as a regular contributor on special teams, and a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that having Johnson on the roster was considered a luxury that the Redskins couldn't afford in this Sunday's game at St. Louis.
The source also said Johnson could be re-signed in the near future.
The move to release Johnson came two days after he lost 10 yards while trying to reverse field on a first-down run in the fourth quarter of the Redskins' 30-27 overtime loss to the Houston Texans. It was a critical play that forced Washington into a passing situation when the team would have been expected to milk the clock with a 10-point lead.
Johnson, a 30-year-old Maryland native, signed a three-year, incentive-laden contract with the Redskins in March in hopes of reviving his career.
"I'm very upset, didn't see this coming," Johnson said in a statement released through his agent Tuesday. "But most importantly, this is where I wanted to end my career, a place where I was born and raised most of my life. ... So all my eggs were in this basket."
Johnson finished last season with the Cincinnati Bengals after being released by the Kansas City Chiefs in November. His time in Kansas City was marred by off-the-field problems, including two suspensions in his last 12 months with the team.
Johnson's best years were 2005 and '06, when he had consecutive 1,750-yard seasons. He has run for more than 6,000 yards in the NFL.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.