The Tennessee Titans don't appear to be much closer to bringing in holdout running back Chris Johnson back into the fold after a meeting in Nashville on Wednesday.
Wednesday's meeting between the Titans and running back Chris Johnson only revealed that the sides remain far apart.
Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said in a statement that the sides were still far apart and the he was unsure that any real progress was made, but that he expected he would talk again with Segal in the next day or so.
“We had a meeting today with myself, Vin Marino (Titans VP Football Administration), Chris Johnson and Joel Segal. It was important for us to have a face-to-face meeting so that everyone could have a voice and understand the perspective of the other side,” Reinfeldt said.
In terms of the talks, Reinfeldt said it was beneficial to have a face-to-face meeting, even if it wasn't overly productive.
“I’m not sure there was any progress made, but I do think it was beneficial to meet. We were able to discuss several different elements of a potential contract, but there was no agreement on those topics. I do expect to have another conversation with Joel in the next day or so to discuss things further,” he said.
Titans coach Mike Munchak, who was a big union proponent during his playing days, said he doesn't begrudge Johnson or any player trying to earn whatever they can.
"When I hear what lineman are making what even kickers are making these days it shocks me that that’s the kind of money that this game generates. But that’s what we went on strike for in 1987 to get free agency for these guys," Munchak said. "And it shows you how great the game has become, and I think more power to them.
"Players can only play so long and I think players are generally done playing by five or six years. I don’t look at any particular situation like (Chris Johnson’s), I’m sure he is trying to get what he thinks he deserves. We would like him here, but hopefully we get it worked out real soon."
Reinfeldt has said the Titans are willing to make Johnson the NFL's highest-paid running back, which would better the money paid to Carolina's DeAngelo Williams, who got $21 million guaranteed in a $43 million package.
However, the fourth-year pro is wanting a contract more in line with those signed this week by some of the NFL's top superstars. Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald got $50 million in guarantees and $120 million overall from the Cardinals and Cleveland Browns paid left tackle Joe Thomas $36 million in guarantees, $84 million overall.
Segal did not return messages seeking comment.
Meanwhile, Munchak took the face-to-face meeting as a good beginning, although he said Johnson not being in camp is not affecting his preparation for the opener in Jacksonville. He also said that Johnson won't necessarily be able to get a deal a couple of days before the season opener and be able to fully contribute.
“As far as what we're doing, him not being here isn't affecting anything as far as our preparation for Jacksonville or the Ravens. The positive is the other guys are getting a lot of reps and you hope they improve quite a bit so if they do have to play early in the season, these guys are ready to help us,” Munchak said. “This is not something you could plug in on a Friday and think that he's going to play at his best on Sunday. I'm sure he could do some good things in a short period of time because he's a special type player, but for us to think he's going to touch the ball 30-something times in his first game if he's not here, that's highly unlikely he'll be able to do that and do it well without having any injury issues.”
Titans teammates also saw Johnson and the Titans meeting as a positive.
“It is positive that they are at least talking and meeting face-to-face,” said fullback Ahmard Hall, who said he would probably reach out to speak to Johnson Wednesday night. “At the end of the day, this is a big deal. We're not talking about small money here. People are thinking it's going to happen overnight, but it's not going to happen overnight. So I wasn't expecting a deal to get done today. It was just exciting to hear that they had talked face-to-face.”