Chris Johnson’s six-season run with Tennessee is officially over.
The Titans announced they will release Johnson, their star tailback, on Friday.
Johnson, 28, rushed for 7,965 yards and 50 touchdowns in regular season play for Tennessee, which drafted him in Round One in 2008. He has exceeded 1,000 yards rushing in all six of his NFL seasons, and he has missed just one game in that span.
At his best, Johnson has been a clear-cut blue-chip player — one of the game’s most dynamic tailbacks. He has 68 rushes and 15 receptions of 20 yards or more in his pro career. However, he gained a career-low 3.9 yards per carry a season ago, and he was due $8 million in salary in 2014.
“As an organization, we want to thank Chris for his contributions to the Titans. Chris produced many memorable moments, broke franchise records and was durable over his six year career with our team,” Titans G.M. Ruston Webster said in a statement issued by the club on Friday.
“We have had an open dialogue with Chris’ agent, Joel Segal, over the last few weeks, and we appreciate the patience and professionalism they have shown throughout this process. We made an effort to trade Chris but were unable to do so. We wish Chris the best and thank him for the six seasons he spent with us.”
Johnson’s best season came in 2009, when he rushed for 2,006 yards on 358 carries, gaining a college-like 5.6 yards per rush. While he hasn’t reached those heights since, he has been a stalwart for Tennessee.
Now, Johnson enters a market that hasn’t exactly been kind to running backs this offseason. Then again, Johnson has been far from ordinary for the vast bulk of an exceedingly productive NFL career.