Chiefs avoid arbitration, reach settlement with RB Johnson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs, apparently fearful of losing in arbitration, agreed Monday to cut Larry Johnson's suspension in half for making gay slurs.

The agreement saved the running back about $315,000. The Chiefs issued a terse announcement saying they had made the settlement in conjunction with the NFL Management Council and the NFL Players Association. Originally, they suspended the former two-time Pro Bowler two weeks, which would have cost him about $630,000.

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He will still miss the game at Jacksonville this week and not participate in team activities until Nov. 9. The Chiefs had said the suspension was for conduct detrimental to the team.

Johnson's agent, Peter Schaffer, told The Associated Press on Saturday the agreement had been tentatively agreed to. Schaffer said Monday that as far as he knew, Johnson would remain with the Chiefs. He needs just 75 yards rushing to become the team leader.

"I've been given no indication other than that," Schaffer said. "There have been no discussions about that."

The Chiefs, as they've done since the controversy erupted on Oct. 25, refused any comment.

Schaffer told the AP that both sides benefited from the settlement and that Johnson had learned from the entire experience. He posted the slur on his Twitter account after also questioning coach Todd Haley's credentials. He then repeated the slur the next day to reporters.

"Larry apologized," Schaffer said. "He learned from it and hopefully other people learned from it. My hope is that people learn that something positive can come out of this and that there are words that should not be used because they demean people."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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