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Report: Chris Johnson’s work ethic irked Titans officials

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The Titans’ decision to cut running back Chris Johnson may have been at least in part a reflection of Johnson’s work ethic.

Although Johnson hasn’t had any major off-field incidents, Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reports that Johnson was cut because the team is trying to create a different culture.

The issues involving Johnson generally involve, according to Wyatt, rubbing team officials the wrong way with a questionable work ethic and a laid-back attitude. New Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt wants the top players on his team to be the proverbial guys who are the first ones at the facility in the morning and the last to leave, and that’s not Johnson.

It’s important to point out, however, that Johnson managed a 2,006-yard season in 2009, and was given a huge new contract in 2011, despite what may have been a questionable work ethic. If Johnson were still playing the way he played a few years ago, the Titans would probably be willing to look past whatever issues there may be about his work ethic.

Ultimately, Johnson was cut because his production didn’t live up to his contract. When you’re a running back who averages 3.9 yards a carry and is due to make $8 million, your job won’t be safe no matter how hard you work.

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65 Responses to “Report: Chris Johnson’s work ethic irked Titans officials”
  1. jacobslatter says: Apr 6, 2014 4:50 PM

    CJ needs to make his own logo. Make it look like the old Civil Defense “CD” inside a triangle but say “CJ”. Marketing gold, Jerry.

  2. bennyb82 says: Apr 6, 2014 4:51 PM

    I hope he has a breakout year just so we can see who signs him to a massive contract.

  3. seattlemike25 says: Apr 6, 2014 4:51 PM

    Actually, I think it was Johnson’s “gang ties” that were the final straw for the Titans.

  4. fanofthegame1 says: Apr 6, 2014 4:53 PM

    Sounds familiar. He is going to skins. He would fit right in.

  5. bennyb82 says: Apr 6, 2014 4:53 PM

    Meanwhile the Colts wish Trent Richardson would start playing like Chris Johnson.

  6. brainslicer says: Apr 6, 2014 4:57 PM

    And if Johnson was running the same way he was a few years ago the Titans could have traded him for something of value (including, perhaps, a couple of the Colts’ first round picks!).

  7. gylven says: Apr 6, 2014 4:57 PM

    so CJ gets 1000 yards without trying…hate to see what he does for a team he wants to play for

  8. crubenst says: Apr 6, 2014 4:58 PM

    I hope the NFLPA springs to action to investigate this smear campaign!

  9. catskinnerd11r says: Apr 6, 2014 5:01 PM


  10. thegreatgabbert says: Apr 6, 2014 5:02 PM

    Reason for dismissal: “Irking”.

  11. MichaelEdits says: Apr 6, 2014 5:06 PM

    He plays when he wants to play.

  12. puppybowler says: Apr 6, 2014 5:09 PM

    I’m sure that this will be talked about more than Haslam or Irsay’s situations

  13. 6thsense10 says: Apr 6, 2014 5:20 PM

    Can teams release players without going out their way to trash them? Didn’t the Titans try to get CJ to take a pay cut this season to remain on the team? Why would they want him at any cost if they were offended by his work ethics.?

  14. webofbelief says: Apr 6, 2014 5:20 PM

    Oh god, not the ol’ “First to arrive and last to leave” cliche again!

    In most workplaces, the person who works the longest every day usually does so because he or she does not work as efficiently or effectively as other employees. Hardly an attribute for which one should receive credit.

  15. badmoonrison says: Apr 6, 2014 5:20 PM

    I never thought this guy was an elite player. He was simply a product of the lame media machine.

  16. azjohnny says: Apr 6, 2014 5:21 PM

    1,000 yard season isn’t that great any more ( its 66 yds a game, 3 ypc)

  17. orivar says: Apr 6, 2014 5:30 PM

    While that may be an issue, the Titan’s Oline play didn’t help.

  18. judalation says: Apr 6, 2014 5:31 PM

    He is a Running back… From What I have seen in several practices, All running backs do is stretch and do low intensity blocking and catching drills.

    Questioning Djax work ethic is on point because he would drop balls and half ass it on the field. However this leak seems to be the Titans Smearing Johnson because he refused to renegotiate his contract and they want to make him take the blame for being cut.

    Perhaps they don’t want him top go in the same division so they are smearing him, But don’t tell me that suddenly a player that has been on your team for years has bad work ethic, that did not stop you from giving him a huge contract!

  19. kev86 says: Apr 6, 2014 5:34 PM

    Logo time.

  20. craigkintexas says: Apr 6, 2014 5:35 PM

    Just wait till Richard Sherman hears about this!

  21. johnnycash19 says: Apr 6, 2014 5:39 PM

    He ran for 2000 yards in 2009? Man time flies.

  22. thestrategyexpert says: Apr 6, 2014 5:42 PM

    Well he did put up a larger Yards per Reception than every previous season but one, and he did fumble the ball 40% less than last year. I guess those things were just accidents and not indicative of a conscious effort.

  23. time4complaints says: Apr 6, 2014 5:44 PM

    Comfirmed that Jeff Fisher hasn’t had a team break .500 since the 2008 season. Can unnamed sources start to question his “work ethic”? Or may be he works really hard and just isn’t a very good coach but for some reason he continues to be employed at his desired salary. Players that no longer perform should get released but coaches that no longer win should get fired for the same reason. Neither are earning their pay.

  24. grimreaper12 says: Apr 6, 2014 5:49 PM

    Perfect signing for the Jets. They never win on the field, so hey, why not get some back page headlines?


  25. hawkstradamus says: Apr 6, 2014 5:53 PM

    Cj2k running for 2K in 09 is only slightly more relevant than the spanish armada and 49er lombardies of the Regan era.

  26. jboody79 says: Apr 6, 2014 6:08 PM

    There’s a reason Adrian Peterson I the best running RB in the league and not CJ. This moron thinks he’s the best and all he’s had is one great year. He’s overrated! AP over CJ ALL DAY

  27. stoutfiles says: Apr 6, 2014 6:12 PM

    4 years ago is forever for a RB. The 2000 yds days are long behind him.

  28. tooozy says: Apr 6, 2014 6:15 PM

    Bad work ethic, eh? Maybe the Redskins should try and sign him too?

  29. jrbtoo says: Apr 6, 2014 6:15 PM

    He can sign with the skins and be # 12

    Then you would have 3 slackers in a row #10 #11 #12

    and for the next 3 years when the heat turns on about the redskin name they cat just cut one per year and avoid the controversy.

    Gotta love the NFL they manage to keep the headlines even during the final 4 weekend

  30. jigwig13 says: Apr 6, 2014 6:16 PM

    I think his play fell off because his o line did…don’t think its all his fault with a good line he will put up numbers again

  31. ravenswhat says: Apr 6, 2014 6:18 PM

    People who really buy into these statements are incredibly gullible. It’s about the $. It always has been and it always will be.

  32. nomoreseasontix says: Apr 6, 2014 6:19 PM

    You guys all realize that the 1,ooo yard metric for running backs came from the 12 and 14 game season era, right?
    1,000 yards per year today is just enough to maybe keep a roster spot.

    The number of 100 yard games is a better yardstick.

  33. jetsmmt says: Apr 6, 2014 6:32 PM

    So if Johnson had a more favorable contract the Titans would still trade or cut him right?

  34. realfootballfan says: Apr 6, 2014 6:37 PM

    It’s call the spin cycle. Stop posting this garbage the team PR squad is feeding the media.

  35. doe22us says: Apr 6, 2014 6:56 PM

    Questionable work ethic, Walker alluded to that and Chris got defensive, and a gigantic salary, poor production(shouldnt shoulder all the blame) are all grounds for release.

  36. hartdaddy says: Apr 6, 2014 7:00 PM

    So anyone who signs CJ for anything more than what MJD & Donald Brown will be overpaying. Johnson is still was a top 15 RB even with questionable work ethic & a declining game.

  37. iceburgskin202 says: Apr 6, 2014 7:02 PM

    He can sign with the skins and be # 12

    Then you would have 3 slackers in a row #10 #11 #12

    and for the next 3 years when the heat turns on about the redskin name they cat just cut one per year and avoid the controversy.

    Really so when did RG3 work ethic come into question???

  38. mitchfla says: Apr 6, 2014 7:04 PM

    so CJ gets 1000 yards without trying. 1000 yards in 2014 is a joke.

  39. fordmandalay says: Apr 6, 2014 7:05 PM

    Because The Whiz’s coaching method worked SO WELL in AZ, the Titans happily cut the only superstar player they’ve ever had. GENIUS

  40. chuckiesez says: Apr 6, 2014 7:13 PM

    Poster boy for my contention that ALL salaries should be based on performance! Base salary for all positions, Easily attainable bonuses. Pool for injury pay. Set amounts for starters and reserves. If they had to actually ‘earn’ the pay, maybe they would want to play hard every week…..

  41. stunzeed5 says: Apr 6, 2014 7:18 PM

    Poor work ethic and laid back? Sounds like a perfect Cowboy or Eagle. Maybe even the NOVA stepchilds, the Ratbirds, errrr Ravens.

  42. geniusesq says: Apr 6, 2014 7:21 PM

    Funny how these stories leak after a guy is cut…..coincidences I guess.

  43. jrob23 says: Apr 6, 2014 7:46 PM

    “Because The Whiz’s coaching method worked SO WELL in AZ, the Titans happily cut the only superstar player they’ve ever had. GENIUS”

    took em to the SB and it took greatest catch in SB history to beat them…genius!!

    Could be any dumber?

  44. mitchfla says: Apr 6, 2014 7:54 PM

    1600 today is the equivalent of what 1000 yards used to be.

  45. campcouch says: Apr 6, 2014 7:57 PM

    You guys act like the Titans have been a football powerhouse during Johnson’s arrival there. They went 8-8 with a grey bearded Kerry Collins. They had two winning seasons:13-3 and 9-7 during his tenure…other than those,.500 and below. I think the franchise has a work ethic issue. But hey,they did lose the SB way back in ’99 so I guess the organization gets a pass.

    413-434-6 as a franchise. Blame the running back.

  46. kc114 says: Apr 6, 2014 8:12 PM

    CJ may have been misunderstood.

  47. richmondbolt says: Apr 6, 2014 8:18 PM

    Anyone else have an ad for single full figured women to the right of the screen? Kinda funny. Oh, and CJ was lazy? Mind blown.

  48. thetooloftools says: Apr 6, 2014 8:31 PM

    “It’s important to point out, however, that Johnson managed a 2,006-yard season in 2009.”
    That was 4 years ago.
    The Pats know when to let them walk and the league is learning.

  49. jaygruntboston says: Apr 6, 2014 8:37 PM

    just another one in the line of Haynesworth’s and Moss’s who’s talent is ruined by big money contracts, when they slack off, drag their feet, and don’t try anymore. look at what happens to most players getting these huge contracts. if they already earn the money, there’s no longer any need to try anymore, in any sport. next one due: Clowney.

  50. raiderapologist says: Apr 6, 2014 8:45 PM

    hawkstradamus says: Apr 6, 2014 5:53 PM

    Cj2k running for 2K in 09 is only slightly more relevant than the spanish armada and 49er lombardies of the Regan era.
    Couldn’t help but noticed you used the plural in mentioning the past championships. The Jets, Chiefs, Bears, Rams, Bucs, and maybe some other team I can’t recall has won once. Oh yeah, the Seahawks. Winning is hard. I think there are 12 teams that haven’t won once, and a few that haven’t even lost one. Winning one recently isn’t any more of an accomplishment than winning the last of five 19 years ago during the Clinton, not “Regan” era.

  51. dkalev says: Apr 6, 2014 9:29 PM

    Actually raider apologist, it’s much more impressive to win multiple superbowls in the modern era due to free agency… No longer are players forced to either play for their team or retire or hope to be traded. Now,coupled with salary cap changes and the ludicrous amount of money necessary to keep players on a team due to this lovely free agency or have me walk if you can’t afford them, it’s damn near impossible to win a lot because once players win they wanna get paid, so you can’t keep a power house together like you used to (looking at you 49ers, Cowboys, old Packers)

  52. slamdunk says: Apr 6, 2014 10:27 PM

    Good one Seattle Mike–that is where my comment was going.

  53. Noel Thomas says: Apr 6, 2014 10:29 PM

    realfootballfan says: It’s call the spin cycle. Stop posting this garbage the team PR squad is feeding the media.

    You guys are too funny. Some teams (Patriots for one) say nothing when a player is released except Belichick say, “I made what I thought was the best decision for the football team,” and you get all upset because the fans have a right to know.

    And then a team does say why a player was cut, and you’re all, “Smear campaign! Spin cycle! Garbage PR!”

    Did you ever stop to think that teams don’t cut players they want to keep? They cut players they don’t want any more, and so NATURALLY the reasons for cutting the player are negative towards the player. Why do you think a team would have positive reasons for cutting a player????? (“This guy was a positive influence in the locker room, gave 110% every plan, tutored younger players, has production value that far exceeds what we are paying him, voluntarily took a pay cut for the good of the team, and works hard every day to improve his game. That’s why we cut him.”

    Duh. The Titans cut CJ and the Iggles cut DJ because the guy didn’t meet their expecations. You want to know what CJ and DJ didn’t do, fine. But don’t go all whiny-girlie when they tell you.

  54. edavidberg says: Apr 6, 2014 10:55 PM

    He made way too much money, like $6 million too much. And he definitely wasn’t the same player since he got his contract.

  55. rainmaker1982 says: Apr 7, 2014 12:52 AM

    Even Barry Sanders quit on the Lions. So disappointing as he had a lot left in the tank.

    Losing teams that have no future will do this to most players.

    See Randy Moss. Most people thought he was in decline. You know what happened after that.

    Corey Dillon was on the “decline”. The Bengals were perennial losers. He went to a winner and had his best season of his career.

    I’m not saying he needs to the Pats, I’m saying going to a winner will change most players attitudes.

  56. dodohead418 says: Apr 7, 2014 1:45 AM

    Fun Fact: It irked everyone.

  57. NJ49er says: Apr 7, 2014 4:55 AM

    It’s called the Rookie Cap people.
    If you Draft well enough and manage the Cap properly, you stand a good chance of seeing your rookies succeed quickly enough to offer them extensions before they seek the FA option.

    Rookie Cap is watering down the FA market enough to where the huge bucks just aren’t being given out as they were just a few years ago.

    Fewer and fewer teams are sitting on huge pools of cash anymore.
    Kinda stupid to pay Mike Wallace $$$ and find out he’s not fitting into your Offense well enough a year later.

    Ask Mike Tannenbaum what happens when you mismanage Cap dollars on guaranteed Contracts.

    GMs make or break the rosters.

  58. sayly75 says: Apr 7, 2014 6:33 AM

    Guys that plays with no heart! Doesnt matter what team they play on it will be the same result.
    Albert Hainesworth, Vince Young, Jamarcus Russell etc.

  59. billh1947 says: Apr 7, 2014 7:32 AM

    Like employers everywhere who are paying an employee millions of dollars a year they expect that employee to earn his vast paycheck by doing whatever it takes to make sure his on the job performance is deserving of his salary and does not fall off,if it does they fire him,thats life.

  60. titansbro says: Apr 7, 2014 8:21 AM

    The Titans don’t NEED to smear the guy. Titans fans have been wishing for him to be cut for at least 2 seasons. And some of us smarter fans never wanted them to give him this kind of money in the first place.

    Personally, I wanted them to trade him while his value was sky high since we weren’t close to any championships anyway at the time. And keeping him for 2 additional years at $8M per season wasn’t going to get us any closer to a championship, even if he had had 2 more 2K seasons. But getting a couple of draft picks for him to help build a contender would have. FACTS kid.

  61. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Apr 7, 2014 8:39 AM

    It’s like CJ exploded on the scene but then started believing all the hype and production faded.

  62. c4anderson says: Apr 7, 2014 9:51 AM

    Cowboys can use you, come on down.

  63. myfriendbobsacamano says: Apr 7, 2014 10:01 AM

    I smell a Stephen A Smith “the man done you wrong” interview.

  64. vegasdestroyer says: Apr 7, 2014 1:30 PM

    Steven A. will need his own show to do all those interviews for all those “wronged” players who get cut for “work ethic” reasons.

    And the Players Association will have to raise dues to do all those investigations.

  65. gron4u says: Apr 7, 2014 11:49 PM

    It’s just the same situation that happened with Steve McNair. They didn’t want to chance him getting hurt at their training facility. They’d be libel and would have to pay him at his inflated rate and get nothing in return. In addition it would count against their cap heavily.

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