The Titans released Chris Johnson April 4. Twelve days later, he signed with the Jets. Despite being out of work for less than two weeks, Johnson feels that he wasn't treated fairly by the Titans, the same outfit who signed him to a four-year, $53.5 million contract extension (of which Johnson collected some $30 million) back in September 2011.
“I think [Tennessee] was just being nasty to be honest,” Johnson said Tuesday night during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio (via PFT). “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.”
Of course, teams can release players whenever they choose. But Johnson's right: Some times are better than others. The hope, as a player, is to have as much time as possible to catch on with another club. One mitigating factor: The Titans were hoping to trade Johnson, although both sides probably understood that his 2014 salary of $8 million would be prohibitive.
But it all worked out; the Titans found a younger, cheaper option in second-round pick Bishop Sankey, who will join Shonn Greene in the backfield. And Johnson's in a better situation with the Jets, where he feels like he can still be a game changer.
"I'd just retire and not play anymore if I didn't feel like I was still capable of being a 2,000-yard back," Johnson told the New York Daily News' Seth Walder. "I know I have the ability."
At this point, Jets coach Rex Ryan is just glad he knows where Johnson is.