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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chiefs' Johnson under investigation for latest incident involving a woman

Kansas City police are looking into a report of nonaggravated assault against Johnson for telling a woman that he was going to kill her boyfriend then spitting in her face at Club Blonde on Oct. 10.

Larry Johnson

Johnson

The case has been assigned to a detective and will be investigated as resources allow, police spokesman Capt. Rich Lockhart said. Johnson has not been charged.

Ashley Stewart, 24, told police she had left the nightclub in Kansas City's Country Club Plaza district but re-entered around 1:45 a.m. to find a friend. Johnson, who had tried to buy her a drink at the same club a week earlier, asked the friend to have Stewart come over, according to the police report.

Johnson got close to Stewart while swinging his arms belligerently, then said, "All I wanted [to] tell you is I'm going to kill your boyfriend," the report said.

Johnson kept talking to Stewart and spit the drink in her face after she backed away, the report said.

Stewart told police that Johnson's bodyguards then tackled her and that bouncers from the club escorted her outside. Johnson tried to spit on her three more times while walking to his car after the club manager asked him to leave, the report said.

Johnson already faces a Dec. 3 court date on a charge of simple assault for shoving the side of a woman's face at a club in February. He faces a maximum jail term of six months and a $500 fine on the charge filed last month.

The Chiefs deactivated Johnson for Sunday's game against Tennessee for violating unspecified team rules. A team spokesman said the benching was unrelated to the current investigation.

While coach Herm Edwards said Johnson is expected to play this week against the Jets, NFL sources on Tuesday told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen that if the league fails to suspend Johnson before Sunday, it is likely the Chiefs will again make him inactive. The NFL currently is reviewing the details of the accusations against Johnson.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined comment, saying the league had nothing to add to a statement issued by Chiefs president Carl Peterson on Sunday.

Sources told ESPN's Michael Smith that the pattern of behavior will lead to a possible suspension for Johnson under the NFL's personal conduct policy.

"It's just a matter of for how long," one source told Smith.

A source close the situation told ESPN.com's Bill Williamson that Johnson has not had any meetings with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or has been told of a pending punishment. The source doesn't necessarily believe Johnson is in the clear, but he simply has not been told of any news yet.

The Chiefs acknowledged Johnson's latest troubles in a statement Sunday.

"We are aware of the most recent incident involving Larry Johnson and we are very disappointed with his involvement," Peterson said. "We will cooperate fully with the Kansas City authorities who are investigating the matter. We have also made the NFL office in New York aware of the incident and officials there are conducting their own independent investigation.

"Based upon the NFL Player Conduct Policy, we will have no further comment."

Johnson's troubles are nothing new.

He was charged in 2003 with felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor domestic battery for waving a gun during an argument with a former girlfriend at his home. The charges were dropped when Johnson agreed to participate in a domestic violence diversion program.

Johnson also had charges against him dropped in 2005 after a woman who accused him of pushing her to the ground at a Kansas City bar failed to appear in three court hearings.

Johnson has rushed for 417 yards and three touchdowns for the Chiefs, who lost to Tennessee to fall to 1-5. In August 2007, the club signed its 2003 first-round draft pick to a six-year, $45 million extension that included $19 million in guarantees.

Odds favor Rays to win Series

Las Vegas sports books favor the Tampa Bay Rays to win the World Series over the Philadelphia Phillies and would owe huge payouts if the American League champions prevail.

Oddsmakers say enough bettors took the Rays early in the year at long-shot prices to force books to adjust lines to encourage bets on the Phillies.

Sean Van Patten at Las Vegas Sports Consultants says the Rays are favored at minus-$1.35, meaning a gambler would need to bet $1.35 to be paid $1 if Tampa Bay wins.

Van Patten puts the Phillies at plus-$1.15, meaning a $1 bet would earn $1.15 if Philadelphia wins.

Las Vegas Hilton race and sports book director Jay Kornegay says before the start of the season the Rays were a 200-1 shot for the title.