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Tag:Chris Johnson
Posted on: June 24, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 7:04 pm
 

Chris Johnson is going to want a new contract

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Chris Johnson is the most important player on the Titans roster and it's not even close. (Kenny Britt is probably No. 2 but it's only a matter of time before he's arrested again and/or has his Facebook page hacked.) In 2009, Johnson rushed for 2,006 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. Last summer, he declared that "I'm shooting for 2,500 (rushing yards), but I'll be happy with anything over the record (of 2,105 set by Eric Dickerson in 1984)." He ended the 2010 season with 1,364 yards and Tennessee won six games.

Now, with light at the end of the lockout tunnel and the real possibility of training camps starting on time, Johnson could be a no-show, instead choosing to park himself on his couch until he has a new contract. PFT's Michael David Smith says Johnson could be this year's Darrelle Revis, who held out during Jets training camp last summer. (As you may remember, it was one of the many story lines from Hard Knocks.)

Johnson's set to make $800,000 in 2011 but he's looking for a deal that pays him like one of the NFL's top backs. Seems reasonable given his productivity, age (25), and importance to Tennessee's offense (particularly given the likelihood that rookie Jake Locker could see the field).

Details via NFL.com's Jason La Canfora:

"The idea of another 'band-aid' deal, after three highly productive seasons, isn't appealing to Johnson, and a contract in the range of the $5 million per season extension that Jamaal Charles signed with the Kansas City Chiefs last season isn't what he's thinking, either, La Canfora writes. "Johnson has talked in the past about wanting to join the ranks of those garnering $30 million in guaranteed money, and if the free-agent cash begins flying around in a furious manner post-lockout, don't expect his desire to wane."

Well, it's a starting point. Recent negotiations between owners and players to craft a new CBA have proven that no one gets exactly what they want. Ultimately, it's about compromise. The Titans won't give Johnson a blank check, and it sounds like he's not playing for $800,000. We're guessing they'll meet somewhere in the middle.

After all the gnashing of teeth about Revis missing the 2010 season, he and the Jets found common ground days before the regular season and he ended up with some $30 million in guarantees. Of course, cornerbacks are among the best-paid players in the game. Johnson might have to set his sights lower. Then again, maybe the Titans can be persuaded to sweeten the pot if Johnson promises not to hold out again in two years.

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Posted on: June 22, 2011 7:18 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 7:30 pm
 

Britt issues statement, explains Facebook hacking

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Kenny Britt refuses to go away. He's been in the news recently for various legal entanglements, and then, earlier this week, Britt was the victim of a Facebook hacker. At least that's the story he's telling.

On Monday, this post showed up on Britt's Facebook wall:

"Retiring from the NFL. F*** You Goddell. So there is that."

It was promptly deleted and the "real" Britt informed his readers through a series of Facebook posts that his account had been hacked, he's not really retiring, and he's very much looking forward to the start of the NFL season.

Everyone hoped that would be the last we'd hear from Britt until there was actual football to discuss. Nope. The Titans wide receiver released a statement Tuesday night further explaining what happened.

Details via the Tennessean's Jim Wyatt:

“I have the utmost respect for Commissioner Goodell, the NFL and the TN Titans,” Britt said. “The Facebook posting as reported was not made by myself nor have I given any statements to anyone regarding this matter. It is not a defense but a fact that this Facebook page and associated email account were hacked and reported more than 120 days ago.”

Please. Stop. Talking. The first rule of PR is to bury the story and pray people forget about it. The recent news about the possibility of a new CBA had done just that … and then Britt goes an issues a statement.

Assuming for the moment that his Facebook account really was hacked, does Britt believe people are going to take him seriously after spending the last few weeks in court rooms and squad cars? (Also worth noting: Britt's been arrested at least six times since the Titans drafted him in April 2009.)

We joked about it Monday, but Britt's "Hey, my Facebook got hacked!" defense is right from the Anthony Weiner playbook. All that's left is for Britt to hold a press conference and have Benjy Bronk yell out unprompted questions about hot physiques and smooth sexy chests.

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Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:54 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 6:19 pm
 

Kenny Britt now says Facebook account was hacked

Posted by Ryan Wilson

UPDATE: Prunty tweets that Britt has deleted the offending post citing a "change of heart." Britt then claimed in a subsequent post that his Facebook account was hacked and he has no plans to retire. We believe this is commonly referred to as the "Anthony Weiner defense." Either way, mystery solved. 

Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. Between his court appearances and arrests, it's a wonder he has time to post to Facebook. But according to the Twitter feed of the Newark Star-Ledger's Brendan Prunty, this was on Britt's Facebook wall Monday afternoon:

"Retiring from the NFL. F*** You Goddell." So there is that."

It's not clear if Britt was being ironic when he referred to Roger Goodell as "Goddell," or if he just misspelled the NFL commissioner's name.

In any event, Britt still doesn't seem to get it. ESPN's John Clayton thinks Britt "could be facing a one- or two-game suspension [for his legal entanglements] if the player conduct policy is re-established … his continued problems with the law are going to catch up to him."

As might his social media habits. But the Titans say they have no plans to cut ties with Britt, probably because he's the second-most dynamic player on the team after RB Chris Johnson. And rookie QB Jake Locker is going to need all the help he can get.

Still, with every new revelation in the Britt saga, we're reminded of something his father told the Star-Ledger in April.

“I’m worried about [Kenny] all the time. … But my concern is not with Kenny, per se, it’s more with Kenny’s friends, and he knows that," Britt's father said. "He has too many friends with too much free time. He needs to be around more positive people.”

This also reminds us of something Mike Heimerdinger, Britt's former offensive coordinator in Tennessee, said last week. “Kenny can be as good as anybody, but eventually you have to grow up.”

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Posted on: June 19, 2011 9:45 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 10:15 pm
 

Johnson thinks he can 'take pressure off' Locker

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Two weeks ago, during player-organized informal workouts, Titans running back Chris Johnson was under the impression rookie QB Jake Locker would head into 2011 as the team's starter.

"Everybody knows [Jake's] going to be the starting quarterback so he needs to be ready come Game 1," Johnson told the media at the time. "So he's just trying to get ready."

Actually, general manager Mike Reinfeldt has said Tennessee will bring in a veteran QB and won't rush Locker onto the field. A sensible strategy, certainly, but even if Locker begins the season under center, there's reason to think he'll be able to handle the gig. Primarily because the offense won't go through him, but much like a situation Christian Ponder could face in Minnesota, the offense will begin with the running back. In the Titans' case, that's Chris Johnson, one of the league's most dynamic players.

Tennessee offensive coordinator Chris Palmer doesn't expect Johnson to slow down anytime soon, although Palmer says he'll monitor the running back's workload.

“Again, it’s something we’ll have to look at,” Palmer told the Tennessean last week. “The good thing is (Titans head coach) Mike Munchak has been with him for a while and knows him pretty good."

But Johnson, who had 316 carries (for 1,364 rushing yards) last season and 358 more (for 2,006 rushing yards) in 2009, thinks the Titans offense needs him more now than ever. “I feel like [Locker] can come in and do some good things, but I think at the start I am going to have to take some pressure off of him,” Johnson said Saturday at his third annual football camp for kids at Battle Ground Academy, according to the Tennessean.

“In order for him [Locker] to be more successful, we’re going to have to get the running game going and not have to rely on him so much, and I know that starts with me," Johnson continued. "I feel like I always put pressure on myself, so I’ll take it.”

History sides with Palmer in that coaches need to keep close tabs on their running backs' workload. In 2005, Larry Johnson racked up 336 carries for 1,750 yards for the Chiefs, and his carries increased to 416 carries (for 1,789 yards) in 2006. Johnson, who was only 27 when the 2007 season began, was never the same after that. He started just 27 games from '07 to '09, and was out of the league by 2010.

(If you're a Titans fan, and depending on how much stock you put into the Curse of 370, this is about the point where you start to worry.)

Chris Johnson has shown no signs of slowing down, but NFL running backs typically don't see their abilities diminish gradually; more often than not, their skills fall off the cliff.

For now, though, Johnson will be integral to any success Tennessee's offense has next season. Just don't expect him to report to training camp before he has a new contract.

You know who else would be a big help to whoever ends up the Titans' starting QB? Kenny Britt. He just needs to stop getting arrested.

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Posted on: June 17, 2011 11:45 pm
 

Titans OC believes Chris Johnson won't slow down

C. Johnsonhas had 674 carries in the past two seasons (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Titans RB Chris Johnson is unique among the rest of the league’s backs. During the past two years, nobody has carried as many times as he has -- 674 combined attempts -- and though his stature (5-foot-11, 190 pounds) and his biggest assets (speed and quickness) don’t seem to mesh with a guy who carries the ball an average of 20.1 times per game, Johnson has continued his strong play despite so much work.

Yes, last year was a disappointment by his standards. He wanted at least 2,000 yards for the second-straight season, but he finished with 1,364. But you still have to consider him one of the best backs in the league.

Another byproduct of so many carries is the inevitable question about how long this RB can take this many hits and remain healthy and effective. Johnson is only three years into his career, and already -- after he finished fourth in the league in rushing, mind you -- people are already discussing this very issue.

New Tennessee offensive coordinator Chris Palmer doesn’t believe it, though.

He told the Tennessean that he’ll keep an eye on Johnson’s workload, but he also points to the fact that Johnson broke 41 tackles last year (second-best in the NFL) that Johnson is fine with the extra carries.

“Again, it’s something we’ll have to look at,” Palmer told the paper. “The good thing is (Titans head coach) Mike Munchak has been with him for a while and knows him pretty good. We’ve talked about different personnel groups, and some of those personnel groups would have Chris out.

“How much we’re going to use those during the season, only time will tell. But Chris Johnson is one of our playmakers and we’d like to get as much out of him as we could.”

To help alleviate some of Johnson’s workload, remember that the Titans drafted 233-pound power back Jamie Harper in the fourth round in April. Palmer has said he absolutely will use Harper.

So, while we might not see Johnson have a legit chance at topping 2,000 yards again, the Titans are planning to use him in mostly the same way as before. Yet, it makes sense for Palmer and Munchak to ease off Johnson a little bit, because, at some point, those carries (and the hits that come with him) are going to add up and make Johnson less effective.

That’s just the way it goes for a running back in the NFL.

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Posted on: June 14, 2011 10:00 am
Edited on: June 14, 2011 10:43 am
 

Heimerdinger, Fisher concerned for Britt

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Kenny Britt has been busy this offseason, but for all the wrong reasons. While most of us have little trouble staying on the right side of the law, Britt struggles to go more than a week without some sort of legal entanglement. He's been arrested six times since the Titans drafted him in April 2009. We're starting to think that the frequent cuffings and stuffings aren't much of a deterrent.

Let's be clear: Britt isn't committing armed robberies or shooting up malls. But repeated arrests for marijuana possession and reckless driving adds up. He's not Hannibal Lecter, but he also struggles to follow the same basic rules the rest of us manage to do without really thinking about it. At worst, Britt could end up in the slammer; at best, his employer can't count on him. And it's not like he's a practice squad scrub -- he would have long been released if he were. Britt's the second-best player on the Titans after Chris Johnson. He's sort of important to what they're trying to do.

Back in April, several arrests ago, Kenny's dad, Jack Britt, told the Newark-Star Ledger that “I’m worried about [Kenny] all the time. … “But my concern is not with Kenny, per se, it’s more with Kenny’s friends, and he knows that. He has too many friends with too much free time. He needs to be around more positive people.”

We don't want to be that guy but, well, that sounds like a job for Kenny's father.

Former Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, who's currently battling cancer, told the Tennessean Monday that “Kenny can be as good as anybody, but eventually you have to grow up.” And even though it's no longer Jeff Fisher's problem, Fisher still keeps up with Britt's off-field issues.

“I didn’t get the call but I am following it closely and it is not an easy thing,” Fisher told the Tennessean. “Somehow, deep down, you kind of still feel responsible or still feel like you want to help. I hope he can get things sorted out.”

Last season, when Fisher was still coaching the Titans, he benched Britt after the wide receiver was allegedly involved in a bar fight. These problems now belong to the new guy, head coach Mike Munchak.

“You have to be very careful to jump to conclusions until you get all the facts, and I think that is probably what (Mike) is doing right now, he’s gathering the facts,” Fisher said. “The difficulty is you can’t have contact with him and that is hard on Mike and his staff for sure.”

Maybe the Titans should have someone on staff at the Nashville Police Department. Just to be safe, they might want to include the Tennessee Highway Patrol, and for a national presence, the FBI.

Finally, here's something lawyer and ProFootballTalk.com proprietor Mike Florio wrote about Britt this spring:

"We’ve mentioned once or twice the connection between the lockout and players being locked up. Though we’re not excusing bad behavior, the fact remains that the arrest rate for NFL players tends to go down when they have the structure that comes from being with their teams."

We hate to keep going back to this because it started off as a big joke. But, you know, Ray Lewis wasn't wrong.

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Posted on: June 13, 2011 10:43 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 11:41 pm
 

Mike Heimerdinger still battling cancer

Posted by Ryan Wilson

If you need more proof that the NFL is a business, consider Mike Heimerdinger. The former Titans offensive coordinator was diagnosed with cancer last November, and in February he was fired by new Tennessee head coach Mike Munchak.

To Heimerdinger's credit, he didn't bemoan his professional fate, saying at the time, "It's never easy to be fired. [Munchak] has to do what's good for the Titans, and [he] will do what's best for the Titans. I appreciate my time here, but it's never easy to be fired."

But everything's relative, and for Heimerdinger, losing a job isn't in the same conversation as beating cancer. He's currently undergoing his second round of chemotherapy and weighs 170 pounds, down 60 pounds from November.

“The hard part is I am not a real patient person, and this is not a patient disease,” Heimerdinger said on Monday from the NFL Alumni Charity Golf Classic held in his honor this year. “It is a marathon, and I want it done now. I want the chemo to work and doctors to say, ‘It is all gone.’ But that is not going to happen. So you have to come to terms with that. That is the hard part for me.

“I was hoping it went away. I was hoping that the first treatments, it would go into remission and disappear. Obviously it didn’t, so I’ve had to do more treatments. The main thing is to keep it under control and not spread it. And it hasn’t spread, and it is under control. Hopefully, we can keep it under control.”

According to the Associated Press, in addition to the charity golf event, fundraising efforts also included a silent auction featuring "… 2012 Masters tickets, signed pictures by Chris Johnson and Jay Cutler, autographed helmets from Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and the 2010 Heisman winner Mark Ingram and autographed jerseys from John Elway and Peyton Manning."

Al Smith, the former Houston linebacker and current president of the Tennessee chapter of the NFL Alumni, said it was an easy decision to donate money raised through the charity to the American Cancer Society after Heimerdinger was diagnosed with the disease.

"The fact [Heimerdinger] battled through still coaching through it all and showing the perseverance and determination and overcoming the disease, we thought it would be good to benefit something that resonated with him," Smith told the AP.

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Posted on: June 11, 2011 4:05 pm
 

Titans won't cut Britt; Collins wants to return

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Once the lockout is lifted -- and that looks like it could happen before July -- the Tennessee Titans will have plenty of personnel decisions to make. In addition to determining if first-round pick Jake Locker can be the Week 1 starter, there's also the small matter of wide receiver Kenny Britt, who can't seem go very long without getting arrested.

Britt's most recent arrest -- his sixth since the Titans drafted him in 2009 -- came Wednesday. But if professional sports have taught us anything it's that talent trumps just about everything else, including character.

It's ironic that we hear so much about the perils of "off-field issues" in the weeks and months leading up to the NFL Draft, when the reality is that "character concerns" work on a sliding scale. A college player projects to be a mediocre pro? He's dropped from most NFL teams' draft board because he's not worth the hassle. But if he projects to be a possible Pro Bowler, there's a willingness to look past certain personality flaws because … well, at the end of the day, the NFL is a business. And, in general, winning is good for business.

So while a lesser player would be in line for his release (teams can't cut players during a lockout), Britt's job is safe. It's one of the perks that come with being a big-play wideout.

Tennessee, more than most teams, is familiar with giving second and third chances to at-risk players. "Under [former head coach Jeff] Fisher, the Titans had a reputation for bending to help players with baggage -- Adam 'Pacman' Jones, Albert Haynesworth and Randy Moss being recent examples," NFL.com's Albert Breer writes. "New coach Mike Munchak wants a more structured environment, and those in the organization expect him to come down hard on Britt whenever the three-month-old lockout ends."

Breer adds that the Titans consider Britt the second-best player on the roster after Chris Johnson. And while they aren't close to giving up on him they will discipline him. Whatever the Titans decided, the league could weigh in, too. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said previously that player misconduct during the lockout could be reviewed once there is a new collective bargaining agreement. Which means that Britt, like Brandon Marshall, could be subject to the league's personal conduct policy.

As for who might be throwing Britt the ball this fall, the list of possible candidates is ever-expanding. We know that the Vince Young era in Tennessee will be over before the ink is dry on a new CBA, but Locker, Matt Hasselbeck, and Kerry Collins are all contenders. General manager Mike Reinfeldt has said from the beginning that the Titans won't rush Locker and that they'd pursue a veteran quarterback.

Hasselbeck's name was floated earlier in the week, and Collins, who sounded like he had taken his last snap for the Titans, told the Tennessean's Jim Wyatt that he definitely wants to come back in 2011. No word on if he's willing to be a nursemaid, however.

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