Chris Johnson is only two years removed from becoming only the sixth player in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards on the ground, a feat which he accomplished in 2009.
Since then, the numbers have dropped off with 1,364 rushing yards in 2010 and 1,047 in 2011, the lowest of his career.
Johnson has been known to march to the beat of his own drum and do the majority of his offseason work alone in Orlando Fla., but due to a contract incentive has been working out with the team this offseason.
As Johnson looks back on a 2011 season that saw him post a career low in yards and yards per carry (4.0), he says he has no regrets, but is looking forward to bettering that in 2012.
“I don’t really have any regrets. I don’t think I would have done anything different,” said Johnson, who signed a four-year, $53.5 million extension last year after an extended holdout. “At the end of the day, it’s in the past. It’s behind me. Neither me nor the team have any bad feelings about it, but it’s football and business, and you’ve got to handle your business first.”
CJ believes that just being in camp will benefit him and allow him to get off to a better start than last year when he showed up in September and really never got going.
“I feel fresh. I’ve not been having any contact, so I feel pretty fresh. I feel much better about starting now than starting two or three days before the first game,” Johnson said.
Johnson, despite struggles last year, still believes he is the top running back in the NFL.
“None of those other backs have done anything that I’ve done in their first four years, even though I had a bad year last year,” he said.
He has even become a team leader, says Coach Mike Munchak.
"He looks good and he has a great attitude, so he is doing everything he needs to come back and have a great year," Munchak said."I think that is encouraging for everyone to see and that is what you want from one of your top players is that kind of attitude which he has had. He has been awesome.
"He has been here five days a week, not three, not four. A lot of the weeks he has been here all five when that is not even necessary to do.I think he is realizing the benefits of being here and the benefits of being around his teammates.Like I said right from the beginning, that builds a lot of chemistry and a lot of camaraderie and I think that is one of the biggest things that he has helped us with."
Johnson, who has been previously listed at 191 pounds has put on around eight pounds since the offseason began.
"That's something I decided to do," Johnson said. "I started working a month earlier this year. It was a situation where I wanted to be heavier this year and stay at a weight. Everything's been going good, coming in for the first OTAs. The first one is always tough, but once we get into it and get a little more OTAs under our belt, it will go pretty smooth."
“It still pretty early right now, but a with the weapons that we have, especially when Kenny Britt comes back, they won’t be able to focus on me. Hopefully, that will help out the running game and guys won’t be able to fit eight in the box,” Johnson said.