Johnson, Titans deal off again

Running back Chris Johnson (centre) and the Tennessee Titans still can't agree on a new deal....

Running back Chris Johnson (centre) and the Tennessee Titans still can't agree on a new deal. Johnson has yet to report to training camp. (GETTY IMAGES)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:29 PM ET

Last week, things looked promising for the Tennessee Titans and the NFL’s top holdout, Chris Johnson.

The Titans were saying the right things (though, to be fair, Johnson really wasn’t, claiming some of their statements were news to him) and it seemed like a resolution was at hand.

This week, things are gloomier.

Though the Titans said last week they were prepared to make Johnson the highest-paid running back in the league, according to ESPN, Johnson wants to be paid like one of the top overall offensive players (quarterbacks aside, we assume) instead of just a back.

Johnson was a spectacular playmaker two seasons ago when he became the first player to garner 2,500 combined yards (2006 on the ground, 503 receiving), but his receiving numbers basically dropped in half last year. In 2010, Johnson dropped to 245 yards receiving, from 10.8 yards after a catch to 6.2 and from 18 first downs to just nine. Those numbers were almost identical to his rookie season.

So, though he wants to be paid like the player he was in 2009, Johnson was nowhere close in 2010 or 2008. That puts the Titans in a tough spot.

They have to decide which player Johnson really is and how much of an aberration — if at all — Johnson’s 2009 campaign truly was.

Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson is the highest-paid running back in the league, earning $10.7 million this season. Johnson is set to make $800,000 in base salary and said a year ago he wants $30 million guaranteed on a new contract.

Johnson has not yet reported to the Titans and now it looks like it could be a while before he does.

OSI’S BACK

Osi Umenyiora is back on the field with the New York Giants.

But that doesn’t mean the big man is happy.

Umenyiora practised with the team for the first time on Monday despite being upset at not getting a new contract.

“Just because he’s back on the football field doesn’t mean that this whole saga, I guess, is over,” teammate Justin Tuck told reporters prior to the practice.

“He is doing what he thinks is best to help this football team and himself and you got to give him credit for that.”

Umenyiora declined to speak. He has two years and $7.1 million remaining on his contract.

He claims the Giants promised him in the past to renegotiate the deal.

Another teammate, Terrell Thomas, blamed the media for blowing up the situation.

Umenyiora has attended meetings with the rest of the defence throughout.

“He’s been alert in meetings, has been at every practice, paying attention, getting his knee right,” Thomas said.

“I think it was more of a media stunt to make it a bigger deal than what it really was. He has been a team player this whole time. It’s been unfortunate about the situation but I am happy it is being corrected and him now being a Giant again. If he’s back, he’s back.”

Umenyiora practised with the starters and is expected to take over for sophomore Jason Pierre-Paul, who was excellent in New York’s pre-season opener.

STILL NO WORD ON PRYOR

Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor still doesn’t know if he is going to be eligible for Wednesday’s supplemental draft.

ESPN reported Sunday that Pryor wants to meet with commissioner Roger Goodell to plead his case.

Players are only allowed in the supplemental draft if their status has changed since the NFL draft.

Pryor was involved in the scandal at Ohio State that led to the resignation of head coach Jim Tressel. He would have been suspended for the first five games of his senior season.

Only five players have been ruled eligible so far.

MAYBIN A BUST

Aaron Maybin is officially a Buffalo Bills bust.

The team waived its former first-round pick on Monday.

Never a favourite of head coach Chan Gailey, the writing always seemed to be on the wall for Maybin.

Taken 11th overall in the 2009 draft, Maybin has managed just 24 tackles in 27 games.

The linebacker was a sophomore when Gailey arrived and never impressed the seasoned bench boss.

Apparently lighter than ever at camp this year, Maybin didn’t endear himself any further and after being offered on the trade market to no avail, was let go. At his size and given his inability to stop the run, he is of little use in a 3-4 defence.

Gailey and other members of the Bills brass who arrived after Maybin, will go with players they selected and hope for better results. Other members of Buffalo’s defence broke through for a bunch of sacks against Chicago on Saturday and with Shawne Merriman starting to look like his old self, there was no room for Maybin.

He was inactive for five straight games last season and didn’t register a single sack as a Bill.

QUICK HITS

Daunte Culpepper has joined the San Francisco 49ers, hoping to unseat underwhelming incumbents Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick. Now 34, Culpepper joined the team for a tryout on Monday having spent last season in the UFL ... Philadelphia receiver DaSean Jackson will play on Thursday against Pittsburgh ... Dallas and Jacksonville have banned rookie hazing from training camp. Last year the Cowboys had some issues when brash rookie Dez Bryant refused to carry Roy Williams’ pads ... Washington has cut kicker Shayne Graham after he missed 29 and 49-yard field goals on Friday ... The New Orleans Saints have been bolstered by the return to health of cornerback Tracy Porter and receivers Marques Colston and Robert Meachem ... The Eagles are expected to let everybody know what’s up with receiver Jeremy Maclin on Tuesday. He has been out with an undisclosed illness. His brother told the Sporting News all will be revealed on Tuesday and indicated that it would be positive news. “They kind of have us on a gag order until tomorrow,” said Maclin’s brother, “but he’s fine, he’s fine” ... Washington running back James Davis bolted from camp without bothering to let anybody know what was up. “If you see him, let me know because I’m wondering where he was at, too,” Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan told CSN Washington. Apparently, Davis argued with a coach about playing time ... Miami has signed linebacker Marvin Mitchell, who spent the past four seasons with New Orleans ... Detroit cornerback Eric Wright left practice on Monday with a leg injury ... Former Steelers star Jerome Bettis says he isn’t sure how many concussions he had during his career.

“I had a couple serious concussions, but even more importantly, I had minor concussions that I wasn’t aware of because I just thought I got my bell rung and shook it off,” Bettis told the New York Times. “But had I known then what I know now I would have handled it differently and I would have told the trainers, because the last thing I want is 20 years down the road to not have my brain function correctly.” Bettis is promoting concussion prevention among athletes through commercials ... The hapless Oakland Raiders somehow managed to neither receive the ball at the start of Thursday’s game against Arizona nor to start the second half due to a miscommunication on the coin toss.

ryan.wolstat@sunmedia.ca

 


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