“I don’t see it as a fresh start,” Johnson said. “There have been so many fresh starts that I have had. I think that this is going into a different era of my own. It’s pretty much coming in here and being here and trying to work as hard as I can to impress the coaches and see where it goes from there. I wouldn’t say it’s a fresh start because being 30, your fresh starts are already gone.”
Johnson claims that he has “a lot left” in the tank. “People forget, I didn’t play much my first couple years in the NFL, let alone college,” Johnson said. “I still have a lot of burn left and haven’t really been nicked up or hurt, thank God, as far as my whole career.”
In this regard, Johnson’s right. Though he’s only five months younger than LaDainian Tomlinson, L.T. has 3,410 career regular-season touches; L.J. has only 1,575.
On whether he arrives in D.C. with the mindset of a starter, Johnson said, “That’s what you have to do. I wouldn’t come in and say I want to be the third guy or the fourth guy. I just come in to work hard and wherever they have me on the depth chart is where they have me. It’s going to be all predicated off of how hard I work here.”
Still, he said he thinks he can coexist with Clinton Portis, and Johnson welcomes the reduced wear and tear that comes from sharing carries.
It all sounds good for now. But Johnson has created more than his fair share of problems. It’ll be interesting to see whether he says and does all the right things if he’s not getting the kind of playing time he envisioned when he joined the team.
And it’ll be interesting to see what Portis has to say if Johnson does.