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Chris Johnson bulks up in hopes of a bigger role

Chris Johnson

Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson waits his turn to run a drill during NFL football practice Thursday, June 14, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


No back has been better the last four years than Chris Johnson.

But because many were last year, he’s making changes to his game.

The Titans running back spent more time this offseason with teammates and coaches, and added eight pounds of muscle to his frame, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennesseean.

“I think Chris has been great,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “He has done everything we asked him to do, and he’s looked good.”

Since entering the league in 2008, he has 5,645 rushing yards, more than Adrian Peterson (5,411 yards) and Michael Turner (5,281) over the same span.

That’s almost more impressive considering Johnson fell off the grid last year, with just 1,047 yards.

He didn’t look as explosive, and the Titans expanded their offense under Chris Palmer to take advantage of multiple weapons in the passing game.

“We were more of a smash-mouth team when I got here,” Johnson said. “And now it is more of a passing offense.”

“I expect to have a big role,” he added. “Since I got here, a lot of seasons, everybody has been keying on me.

“So, having all the extra additions, I feel good that everybody is not going to be able to key on me. I feel like a lot of teams won’t be able to focus on me like they have in years past.”

The Titans better hope he’s back, especially if they make a change at quarterback. If they go with Jake Locker over Matt Hasselbeck, expect them to lean more heavily Johnson’s way, to take the pressure off the second-year player.