Senior Writer

Catching up, from unhappy Johnsons to a Super cold shoulder


A week on a tropical island is a nice respite from the news of the NFL. But a return means catching up to do.

There was a lot happening in the NFL -- when isn't there? -- as I floated on a raft and filled my belly with Amstel Brights (try them sometime), so I decided to take a post-vacation look at some of the things that have been going on and will go on this week.

The Chris Johnson saga

Johnson, the Tennessee Titans star running back, is sitting out the team's organized-team activities because he is not happy with his contract.

Will Chris Johnson sit out games in his bid for a new contract? Probably not. (US Presswire)  
Will Chris Johnson sit out games in his bid for a new contract? Probably not. (US Presswire)  
Chris Johnson rushed for 2,006 yards last season to lead the league, yet he is scheduled to make $550,000 this season in the third year of a five-year deal he signed as a rookie.

Is he underpaid? You bet.

But it's hard to imagine the Titans ripping up his contract and giving him a long-term deal. At the same time, I can understand Johnson wanting a new deal. The life expectancy of a running back is about five years, so cash in when you can.

The problem is that his salary can only go up by 30 percent based on the rules in place in the current labor situation. That means any new deal that would be to Johnson's liking would include a huge -- as in $30 million -- signing bonus to make it work.

The Titans aren't known for tearing up deals after two years. I can't imagine they cave in here. And I can't imagine the man who calls himself "every coach's dream" will sit out the season.

The threat is certainly there, especially for a guy who wants to be the highest-paid offensive player in the league. But nobody ever benefits from sitting out games. That's when it's money time, and players aren't about to pass on money with a potential lockout looming.

Here's how this will play out: Johnson will sit out the voluntary work, and then officially become a holdout when he doesn't show up for camp. After three weeks of missing camp, he will show up and play.

They all do. It's not like he can make half a million doing anything else.

Andre Johnson

When I heard Andre Johnson didn't show up for a couple of days of the Houston Texans' OTAs, I was shocked.

That's not his style. This isn't a diva receiver.

He is quiet, reserved, loves the game and works at it. He is not about rocking the boat.

And he has five years left on a contact that he signed in 2008.

I think Johnson is the NFL's best receiver. So it's understandable that he wants to be paid that way.

But his contract has a lot of shelf life left. Johnson did return to work after meeting with Texans owner Bob McNair, who probably assured him that something would get done in the next couple of years.

Two things about that: It shows what a class operation McNair runs in Houston and it shows the class of Johnson.

I can't imagine sitting out was his idea, but rather that of his new agent, Kennard McGuire, who I think is one of the best in the business.

McGuire recently negotiated Brandon Marshall's four-year, $47.5 million extension with Miami that included $23 million guaranteed. That has to be a sticking point for Johnson because he is better.

Johnson's deal simply has too many years on it to tear up now, but here's a bet it gets torn up at some point in the next year.

Brett Favre has surgery

So Brett Favre had ankle surgery last week. That means almost certainly he will play in 2010.

Did we expect anything different? I remember talking to his teammates at the Pro Bowl and they all thought he would play.

But in typical Favre fashion, he is dragging this thing out. It helps keep his name in the headlines.

It also keeps him away from OTA work.

That is unfair to his teammates who are there, but they put up with it because they know they have a much better chance of getting to the Super Bowl with him than without him.

It's also really selfish.


Favre played much better than I expected him to play last season, but that doesn't give him a free pass into Me-ville.

Yet that seems to be the case. We hang on every bit of information he leaks to his good buddies at ESPN, trying to gauge when he will make a decision.

The reality is he has already made his decision -- he will play -- and he's just putting it off so he can spend his time in Mississippi rather than Minnesota.

What player wouldn't rather be home with the family than taking part in meaningless OTA workouts?

Of course, his isn't considered an absence like the others. He's just making up his mind.

Overtime rules may extend to regular season

At the owners meetings this week in Dallas, the NFL may decide to use the overtime rules they adopted for the playoffs also in the regular season.

The change in the format for the playoffs allows the kicking team to get a possession if the team that gets the ball first kicks a field goal. If that teams scores a touchdown, there would be no possession for the kicking team.

There is some push now for the rule to be implemented for the regular season as well. And it makes sense. Why not use it for both, at least to have an idea how it works?

I didn't like the change in the first place, but if it's in place in the playoffs they should use it in the regular season.

The networks might not like it. It could make for more overruns in the early games of doubleheader Sundays.

The cold-weather Super Bowl

I hate it.

I hate it.

I hate it.

Can I say it again? It's almost a certainty that the 2014 Super Bowl will be played in the new stadium built for the Giants and Jets.

It's good for New York, a city I love.

It's bad for the fans.

Can you imagine if the Dolphins and the Bucs were in the game -- hey, we're pretending -- and those fans had to shell out money to sit in 10-degree conditions?

I'm the kind of guy who hates it when it goes under 80 degrees. Super Bowls should be about warm weather.

When the Super Bowl was played in Detroit, I didn't leave the hotel-convention center much. In fact, I joked that it was a biosphere, complete with writers growing food in the back.

New York isn't Detroit. And there will certainly be a lot to do in Manhattan. But I see a logistical nightmare.

And did I mention the cold?

I hate it.

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.

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