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Chris Johnson thinks Titans cut him late just to be ‘nasty’

Chris JohnsonFrom the moment Ken Whisenhunt was hired to be the next head coach of the Tennessee Titans, it appeared obvious Chris Johnson had played his last snap with the team. Whisenhunt stopped short of ever publicly endorsing Johnson and Johnson had already stated he would never take a pay cut to stay in Tennessee, so the writing was on the wall.

For some reason, the Titans waited until three weeks after the free agency period opened to release CJ?K. They could have been taking some time to make a final decision, but Johnson believes they deliberately dragged their heels to mess with him.

“I think they was just being nasty to be honest,” Johnson told Sirius XM NFL Radio’s Alex Marvez and Keith Bulluck on Tuesday, via Pro Football Talk. “I love Tennessee, I love my fans and all that, but I think at the end of the day [the Titans] did me wrong.

“And I don’t know if it was, ‘Oh, we’re gonna get revenge back on you for holding out’ when I held out the whole training camp [in 2011] or whatever. I feel like they already knew they were going in a different direction, and it just baffles me that you release me after free agency is over and you wait until a couple days [before] it’s time to show up for offseason workouts to let me go.”

As PFT’s Mike Florio noted, the Titans likely held onto Johnson for a few weeks because they were hoping to trade him. A trade was a long shot given Johnson’s $8 million salary and how obvious it was that Tennessee wasn’t keeping him, but it was worth a shot. Did they care that they were hampering Johnson’s ability to negotiate with other teams? Of course not.

Whatever the case, Johnson believes the Titans will regret giving him his walking papers.

“I’m gonna make them regret letting me go,” Johnson said. “They’re gonna regret it. Trust that.”

That’s not going to happen. The Titans know what Johnson is capable of. He’s one of the most explosive backs in the league and could easily run for 1,500 yards this season. But even if he does, that doesn’t necessarily mean he was going to give it his all and do the same in Tennessee.

Chris Johnson pays Ellis Lankster for No. 21

Chris-Johnson-Jets-21

Chris Johnson does not have the option of keeping his No. 28 with the New York Jets. The Jets retired that number two years ago to honor Curtis Martin. You would think that makes Johnson’s life easier in a way, since he is forced to settle on another number and doesn’t have to negotiate with a new teammate for it. Wrong.

For whatever reason, Johnson was set on wearing No. 21 with the Jets. That number already belonged to veteran defensive back Ellis Lankster, so CJ?K had to buy it.

It certainly isn’t unusual for a player to buy a jersey number from a teammate, as we have seen guys like Darrell Revis pay a fortune to keep their number. What makes this particular situation bizarre is that Johnson wore No. 28 with the Tennessee Titans and No. 5 in college at East Carolina. He’s obviously very particular about what he likes.

H/T Pro Football Talk
Photo: Instagram/Chris Johnson

Report: Titans tell Chris Johnson he will be released

Chris JohnsonIn a development that should come as a surprise to no one, Jim Wyatt of The Tennesseean reported on Friday that the Tennessee Titans have informed Chris Johnson he will be released. The move will save the team $6 million in cap space for the 2014 season.

Johnson made it clear a while back that he would never take a pay cut to remain with the Titans. It has been relatively obvious since Ken Whisenhunt was hired that Johnson is not his guy. Whisenhunt and general manager Ruston Webster have been given several chances to back Johnson, yet they have always stopped short of saying he is in the team’s future plans. That’s because he wasn’t.

Johnson can be one of the most explosive players in the game when he tries, but he has a tendency to take plays off and not give 100% effort. There’s a reason some of his former teammates have described him as selfish.

All that said, Johnson is still only 28 years old. Despite all the criticism he has faced, the former East Carolina star has never rushed for less than 1,000 yards in a season during his six-year NFL career. He won’t get the type of money that the Titans gave him on the open market, but plenty of teams — one of which will be the New York Jets — will have a high interest in CJ?K.

Keith Bulluck: Chris Johnson has always been a ‘me’ guy as a player

Chris Johnson TitansFormer longtime Tennessee Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck says running back Chris Johnson is a “me” person as a player and never takes the blame for things that go wrong.

Bulluck was appearing during his weekly guest spot on “The Midday 180″ on WGFX Thursday and was asked by host Paul Kuharsky about Johnson not taking the time to introduce himself to new head coach Ken Whisenhunt. Kuharsky had an agenda there and thinks Johnson should reach out to the new coaches, even if Johnson is likely to be released by the team. Bulluck agreed and then went into an analysis of Johnson’s personality.

“Even if I’m not going to be on the team, just to meet him. It’s just professionalism. But, I will say, different strokes for different folks. Some people are too cool for school, some people don’t get it, they don’t get how things work. You know, CJ’s been there a while. You guys have been covering him, you know what type of person he is.

“He’s a friend of mine but when it comes to athlete, he’s a ‘me’ person. He’s a ‘me’ person when it comes to the athlete. For the years that he’s been there, it’s never been his fault why he didn’t have a good running game or why he didn’t have a good game. It was always somebody else’s fault. I’m not surprised that CJ hasn’t come in to even meet coach or see what’s going on in general. I’m not surprised by that.”

Bulluck insists that he is friends with Johnson and wasn’t trying to bash his former teammate. He even responded to someone on Twitter who made that accusation.

The assessment from Bulluck isn’t at all surprising. Johnson said in December that there was no way he would take a pay cut to stay with the Titans, which is totally fine. But he absolutely has been a me-guy on the field. He was upset when the Titans signed another running back last year. He’s blamed his offensive line for his struggles. And he said he didn’t do so well last season because of his meniscus injury.

It always does seem to be someone else’s fault. And how much of a me-first guy is Johnson? He once said he preferred the Hall of Fame to a Super Bowl ring.

Helmet smack to Eye on Football

Chris Johnson to Delanie Walker: Call the ‘cancers’ out during the season

Chris JohnsonTennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker said earlier this week that a handful of locker room “cancers” cost the team a decent season and resulted in Mike Munchak losing his job. His comments caused many — myself included — to speculate that one of the cancers he was referring to is Chris Johnson.

Johnson took offense to that. Shortly after Walker’s comments went viral, the Titans running back took to Twitter to scold Walker for not naming names.

“I usually dont do this but if you feel certain people was cancer to the team call them out and say names,” Johnson wrote. “It’s to late to mention it once season is over. Call the cancer out during the year so we can get things fixed instead of waitin and letting the team slip away #JUSTSAYING.”

It was obvious Johnson was irritated with what Walker said, though it appears the two were able to hash things out and clear the air quickly. A short while later, CJ?K redirected his frustration toward the media.

“Me and @delaniewalker82 talk all the time no shots fired we on same page but when people outside of the locker room try in say who the cancers r its crazy,” he wrote.

Given some of the selfish comments he has made in the past and the questionable effort he has put forth during games, it makes sense that Johnson would be one of the cancers Walker was speaking of. Otherwise, his future with the team wouldn’t be in doubt.

H/T LBS reader Pete M.

Report: Chris Johnson unlikely to be back with Titans

Chris-Johnson-Says-He-Is-Better-Than-Adrian-PetersonKen Whisenhunt was hired as the next head coach of the Tennessee Titans earlier this week, and his arrival may signal some major changes for the organization. That could start with running back Chris Johnson.

According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, Johnson is “not likely” to be Whisenhunt’s running back in 2014. That could mean Whisenhunt will keep him on the roster and look to add another back to share the load, but it should be noted that Johnson has three years remaining on the six-year, $55 million contract he signed at the start of the 2011 season. If Johnson isn’t Whisenhunt’s guy, the Titans will likely release him.

After the Titans announced the hiring of Whisenhunt, general manager Ruston Webster would not commit to Johnson being the team’s running back in 2014.

“We just got a new coach,” Webster said Tuesday, via Jim Wyatt of The Tennesseean. “Those are things that we have to talk through, and we’ll do all that. I have been totally focused on this process (hiring a coach) and getting it done as fast as we could.”

Johnson recently stated that he would rather play elsewhere if the Titans can’t find ways to use him “better” with a new head coach. He also said there is no chance he would take a pay cut to remain in Tennessee, so the stepping stones toward a divorce seem to have been laid out.

Whisenhunt is an offensive-minded coach, so I doubt he thinks he needs Johnson in order to succeed. CJ?K can be one of the most explosive backs in the league when he tries, but he rarely gives 100% effort. The Titans would be better off clearing some cap space and starting fresh.

Chris Johnson: ‘No way’ I’ll take pay cut to stay with Titans

Chris Johnson TitansDon’t expect Chris Johnson to give the Tennessee Titans a hometown discount to stay with them beyond the season.

CJ1K hasn’t been the same dynamic player since holding out prior to the 2011 season. Though the Titans running back eventually signed a 4-year, $53 million deal with $30 million guaranteed before that season, he’s in danger of being cut by the team because he is set to make $8 million next season. Would Johnson consider taking a pay cut to increase the likelihood that the Titans bring him back?

“No way,” he said via The Tennessean.

Johnson then explained that he felt his dropoff in production is due to circumstances.

“I don’t feel like it’s all my fault. It’s a team effort.”

Ha, good one, Chris. This guy has consistently been blaming his offensive line for his struggles the past few seasons. If that’s the reason for his problems, then isn’t he telling us he’s not too special of a player?

Remember when there was all that talk about who’s better between him and Adrian Peterson? Peterson had full-on knee surgery and is still better. That’s a joke of a discussion now, and it’s funny that CJ1K thought he was better than All Day back then.

Johnson’s feelings also don’t seem to be too hurt about not being with the Titans next year. A fan tweeted this note to him:

“You shouldn’t take a pay cut. The Titans also 100% should cut you. You aren’t the same player & a horrible teammate.”

I don’t know what “ralph level” is, but obviously he’s not too bothered by the criticism.

Johnson must be smoking bigger blunts than this one if he thinks he’s going to make more than like $6 million on the open market. Why would someone pay him big money? He’s not a game-changer anymore.