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Report: Bucs eye Chiefs RB

The Bucs have expressed interest in a trade for Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, the Kansas City Star reported. The report said the Chiefs have held recent substantive discussions with at least four teams regarding Johnson _ Tampa Bay, Miami, Philadelphia and Dallas.

But it also said finalizing the deal before the Oct. 19 deadline is a longshot. The Chiefs need a linebacker and receiver with WR Marc Boerigter and LB Mike Maslowski on injured reserve.

Bucs general manager Bruce Allen would not comment on the report.

Johnson, a second-year player out of Penn State, is in the doghouse of Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil. Behind Priest Holmes and Derrick Blaylock on the depth chart, Johnson does not have a carry or a catch through the first three games.

Last week, with Holmes' availability uncertain for Sunday's game against the Texans, Vermeil said it was time for Johnson to "take the diapers off."

The comment didn't sit well with Johnson who responded: "I don't need another grown man telling me I need to take the diapers off."

In other news, a report on SI.com last week said the Ravens inquired about trading for McCardell on draft day and the Bears made an offer about a month ago.

Allen has vehemently denied that any team has expressed interest in the Pro Bowl receiver. McCardell caught 84 balls for 1,174 yards and had nine touchdowns in 2003.

_ ROGER MILLS, Times staff writer

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