NFL: Former 2,000-yard rusher Johnson out to quiet critics
Chris Johnson is out to show the football world he is still capable of being an elite running back.
“I know there (are) a lot of people out there that still believe in me, including the Jets, that’s why they wanted to bring me in,” Johnson said on a conference call. “But there are still a lot of people out there who say what they’re going to say and feel how they want to feel, but I don’t see how people can say some of things that they say when you have a guy that rushed for almost 1,100 yards with a torn meniscus.
“But a player like myself, that’s accomplished so much in my career, it’s always great to have things to put a chip on your shoulder, to have things to motivate you.
“I think I can turn a bad thing, (with) what people are saying, into a good thing. For me, that gives me motivation, keeps me hungry and keeps a chip on my shoulder to prove those naysayers wrong.”
Johnson, 28, was released by the Tennessee Titans after six 1,000-yard seasons in Nashville.
In New York, Johnson figures to share time at running back with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell.
“Basically, it’s just a situation (where I will be) coming in and competing and just doing whatever (I can) to help the team win,” Johnson said. “Really, at the end of the day, I’m not coming in with too much of a concern about how the carries are going to be (divided) or whatever like that.
“It’s a situation, from talking to Rex (Ryan, the head coach), from talking to Marty (Mornhinweg, the offensive coordinator), that they will put everybody in the best position to help the Jets win.”
Johnson cited Ryan’s style as one of the reasons he signed with the Jets.
“Rex is an aggressive type of coach, and I feel like I am an aggressive type of player,” he said. “Coming in, (they made) me feel comfortable, I felt like I was at home. From the offensive coordinator to the offensive line to the quarterbacks, it just made me feel comfortable.”
Johnson might not be the same player he was in 2009, when he rushed for more than 2,000 yards, but he carried the ball 279 times for 1,077 yards in 2013.
He also is a solid short-range receiver with an average of 45 catches in Tennessee. That reliable outlet makes him the ideal check-down read for second-year quarterback Geno Smith, who will compete with Michael Vick for the Jets’ starting job in 2014.