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Chris Johnson feels he’ll prove 2011 was just a bad year

Chris Johnson

Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) leaves the field after an NFL football preseason game against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans won 10-6. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)


Titans running back Chris Johnson might have spent some time bragging about his speed on the track during the debut episode of Pro Football Talk, not the first time he’s let his thoughts drift to sprinting this year, but he hasn’t stopped thinking about football.

Johnson has faced scrutiny all offseason after turning in a disappointing 2011 season that led some to wonder if we would ever see the Johnson of old in the NFL again. There have been plenty of optimistic reports out of Tennessee about Johnson’s condition since the end of last season, which provide a counterpoint to those suggestions. Johnson, as you’d probably imagine, aligns himself with the optimists.

Johnson says that he’s in better shape than he was last season and he’s been able to spend more time preparing for the season without a lockout or contract dispute to iron out. And that’s enough to give him faith that he’ll make people forget 2011 soon enough.

“I feel like I had a bad year last year. I wasn’t myself,” Johnson said, via Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. “But at the end of the day, I don’t think I took a step back just because of one year. I don’t think the old C.J. ever left; he has always been here. I just had to handle my business. I am glad that is behind me, and I’m ready to play football.”

Getting off to a good start would be a fine way to start proving that the old C.J. still lurks inside the No. 28 Titans uniform. He averaged under 50 yards a game in his first four outings, a number that bounced up a little more than 20 yards in the final 12 games. That’s not the old C.J., but if he can post stronger numbers out of the gate this season it would bode well for increased numbers in the weeks to follow as well.