Running back Larry Johnson, who was released by the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday, cleared waivers and is a free agent, according to several reports.
The Chiefs cut Johnson - who was 75 yards short of breaking the team rushing record - 2 weeks after he posted a gay slur on Twitter, insulted fans and questioned the competence of coach Todd Haley.
NFL.com, citing league sources, reported that Houston might have an interest in Johnson, and that Chicago, New England and Washington have inquired about him.
Any team that Johnson signs with would have to reimburse that Chiefs the $2.1 million balance remaining on his contract.
There also was speculation that Pittsburgh might be interested in Johnson, although Haley's father, Dick, was once an executive with the Steelers.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told The Associated Press yesterday that he didn't want to discuss the matter.
"I don't discuss free agents," Tomlin said a few hours after the Steelers returned from their 28-10 victory in Denver on Monday night. "That opens a Pandora's box. I tend to focus on the guys that are in our locker room."
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.
Tomlin made similar comments when quarterback Michael Vick was on the market last summer. The Steelers had no interest in Vick.
Johnson played at Penn State and thought 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.
The Kansas City Star reported that Johnson, making his first comments on the situation since his release, told the Dan Patrick radio show that he felt it was time to move on.
"I just felt like I gave Kansas City all that I had as far as being on the field and being upbeat," Johnson said. "It was just time."
The 29-year-old Johnson left the Chiefs just 75 yards shy of breaking Priest Holmes' team rushing record of 6,070 yards.
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