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Titans' Chris Johnson not planning to split carries with Shonn Greene

By Evan Hilbert | CBSSports.com


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Chris Johnson warns that a crowded backfield could end in controversy. (USATSI)

The Tennessee Titans signed free agent running back Shonn Greene last week -- a move that apparently doesn't sit well with starter Chris Johnson .

“I have never been a big fan of the two-back system, so I don't know how we plan on using him,” Johnson told the Tennessean. “I'm not afraid of competition, but I was thinking we'd maybe get a draft pick for the other back. And you don't give a guy that kind of money to be just a goal line guy and in tough yardage situations. So we'll see what happens.”

Greene, 27, agreed to a three-year deal worth $10 million last week.

Johnson is right -- $10 million is quite a chunk of change to pay a No. 2 running back. But it isn't without precedent. The Bears paid backup Michael Bush $3.5 million per year -- slightly above Greene's annual figure of $3.3 million. And there is risk involved, as Bush appeared in just 25 percent of Chicago's plays last season.

The last time Johnson split the backfield was his first year in the league, when he shared the space with Lendale White, who finished the season with 200 carries. No Titans No. 2 back has had more than 64 carries since then.

“That was cool my rookie year coming in,” Johnson said. “But me being the type of guy I am, I wouldn't necessarily want to go back to a role like that. But that's not my decision — I am not the head coach or the GM — so I just have to deal with what they give me. It's all right."

Still, Johnson said, it might not end well.

“At the end of the day, I think there's a chance it could turn into some controversy but that is nothing to worry about right now," Johnson said. "I am hoping for the best."

Johnson added he hopes to carry the ball 30 or 40 times a game, a number that would be difficult to reach if Greene gets any significant time. For his part, the former Jet said he knows his role and who is starting running back.

“I know this is C.J.'s backfield,” Greene said. “With our different styles, we can keep defenses on their toes. You have to prepare with him with his speed and getting to the outside and them coming with me and the power and the downhill stuff.”

Greene has spent his entire four-year career with the Jets, rushing for just more than 1,000 yards the past two seasons. Johnson has never rushed for less than 1,000 yards in a season, going for 1,243 last year in Tennessee, his fifth year with the team.

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