Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who signed a franchise tender for the second straight year, is under contract but not required to appear for voluntary offseason drills. On Tuesday, Johnson unexpectedly didn’t show up for an OTA session.
“We weren’t expecting him not to be here,” coach Sean McVay told reporters on Tuesday. “He’s done a great job communicating with us, but I’m not really sure where he was today.”
The move came as a surprise because Johnson previously had been participating.
“Trumaine’s been excellent this offseason program,” McVay said. “Certainly, it was one of those things . . . you get out on the field and maybe there’s something that’s happened since then. So, I don’t have my phone on me, but it is voluntary and I think that’s something that’s important for us to remember. Certainly, you like it when all of your guys are here, but I thought the guys that stepped up in his absence today, did a nice job competing. You saw good things from E.J. Gaines, Nickell [Robey-Coleman], so that’s the thing you like about your secondary with the depth that we do have.”
McVay seemed to struggle striking the balance between the rule that the workouts are voluntary and the reality that coaches want their players to be present.
“It’s a situation where I continue to remind people that it is voluntary,” McVay said. “We’re not sure where Trumaine was today, but it is voluntary. . . . I’m sure we’ll find out specifically because he’s done a great job this offseason communicating and being here every day. I’m sure we’ll find out a little bit more moving forward.”
With Johnson not signed to a long-term deal and a July 15 deadline looming for reaching such an agreement, was the absence contract related?
“I don’t think so,” McVay said. “But, again, those are things that we’re keeping in-house. Not sure about that, to answer your question. Haven’t heard anything of that nature, right now.”
Johnson surely didn’t stay away without a reason, especially since he’d been participating. Time will tell what the reason was.