Kansas City Chiefs President Carl Peterson announced on Thursday that the Chiefs have agreed to terms of a seven-year deal with first-round selection (27th overall) RB Larry Johnson. He is just the second first-round pick from the 2003 NFL Draft to agree to terms. QB Carson Palmer, who was chosen with the first overall selection by Cincinnati, is the only other first-round pick to agree to terms with his club. As per Chiefs policy, no further terms of the agreement were disclosed.
"Obviously, I'm very pleased to have our first-round draft choice under contract at this time," Peterson said. "This was a contract that we thought would be done because of the principals involved - namely Larry Johnson, the Johnson family and Larry's agent, Marvin Demoff.
"As we said when we drafted Larry, he's coming to the Chiefs to learn from a very talented running back and Larry gives us tremendous insurance at that position," Peterson continued. "He has a lot to learn in the NFL, but he has the talent and work ethic to help the Chiefs in his first year and for many years to come."
Johnson (6-1, 220) was selected by the Chiefs after the club obtained Pittsburgh's first-round choice, third-round pick and sixth-round selection in exchange for the 16th overall selection in the 2003 NFL Draft. Johnson saw duty in 46 games (18 starts) for Penn State, rushing 460 times for 2,953 yards (6.4 avg.) with 26 touchdowns and catching 65 passes for 681 yards (10.5 avg.) with seven touchdowns. He also added 59 kickoff returns for 1,347 yards (22.8 avg.) with a touchdown and three punt returns for 64 yards (21.3 avg.) with two touchdowns.
The State College, Pennsylvania native carried the ball 271 times for a Penn State single-season record 2,087 yards (7.7 avg.) with 20 touchdowns as a senior. Johnson became only the ninth player in NCAA history and first back in Big Ten annals to top the 2,000-yard plateau. He also produced 41 receptions for 349 yards (8.5 avg.) with three touchdowns and 11 kickoffs for 219 yards (19.9 avg.). Johnson won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back, in addition to claiming the Walter Camp and Maxwell Club Player of the Year Awards.
Johnson ran for 2,159 yards and 29 TDs as a senior to earn honorable mention All-America honors from USA Today at State College Area High School in State College, Pennsylvania. Johnson's father, Larry, Sr. serves as the Nittany Lions defensive line coach while his brother, Tony is a senior wide receiver for Penn State and sister, Teresa is a senior third baseman on the Lions softball team.