Patriots (mostly) noncommittal on Larry Johnson

The New England Patriots don't sound overly interested in adding former Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson to their roster.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick told local sports station WEEI on Monday night, "I would doubt it," when asked about Johnson landing in Foxborough, Mass.

And Patriots player personnel director Nick Caserio suggested Tuesday on his weekly conference call the team was fine with the running backs it already has, even though Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris are sidelined with injuries.

Caserio might have slipped up when he said, "We didn't put in any claims" to acquire Johnson off waivers Tuesday, but Caserio quickly added "we may or may not put in any claims for the player."

Asked to elaborate, Caserio said, "We'll make a decision we feel is best for us. We feel we're happy with our running backs, but whether it's running backs, offensive line, regardless of the position, you're evaluating. If there's a football player out there that can help your club in some capacity, then you'll evaluate it, but there's a lot of moving parts, a lot of components that go into it."

The Chiefs waived Johnson after a series of off-field incidents in which he publicly ridiculed head coach Todd Haley and used gay slurs.

The Patriots haven't been too intimidated to take on a perceived malcontent (e.g. Randy Moss) and give him a fresh start. The Patriots also value backfield depth, and we don't know when Morris and Taylor will be ready to play again.

Belichick also had a conference call Tuesday and was asked about the Patriots' interest if Johnson were to clear waivers.

"We would discuss that this afternoon and decide what, if anything, we wanted to do," Belichick said. "To be honest with you, right now, we've just been concentrating on Indianapolis.

"Our pro [personnel] people go through the guys that are available over the weekend, whether it be waivers or teams that have had injuries or changes in a player's status or other guys we've worked out. After all that gets done, we'll talk about the group and what our plans are for the week, whether it's to work a guy out or claim a guy or talk to the player."