Contract talks with Chris Johnson are not finished. Neither is Johnson’s holdout.
An afternoon meeting between Tennessee Titans officials, the running back and his agent, Joel Segal, produced little movement in the impasse, which has led Johnson to stay away from the team since the start of training camp, other than to send the parties on their respective ways.
“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,” general manager Mike Reinfeldt said in a statement issued through the team. “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.”
Reinfeldt added that he expected to discuss the matter with Segal again within the next couple days.
The meeting took place away from the team’s training facility and Johnson never was on hand to see teammates or coaches.
“I think when someone comes into town you are at least heading in the right direction,” coach Mike Munchak said. “What happens when they come in I don’t know, but at least it’s good that [Johnson] did come in and hopefully that’s a good sign.
“I know he wants to get this thing resolved and know he wants to play this year and I don’t think he wants to take the chance of missing games early so you hope his thinking is that same as ours and not to just be here but help us win the Jacksonville game.”
The Titans open the regular season Sept. 11 at Jacksonville. They have two remaining preseason games in the next eight days – Saturday against Chicago and Sept. 1 at New Orleans.
“His not being here doesn’t affect anything as far as our preparation for Jacksonville or the Ravens [Sept. 18 at LP Field] and so on,” Munchak said. “The positive is the other guys get 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.
“For [Johnson’s] part, it’s not something that you can just plug in on a Friday and think he is 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 is a special type of player, but for us to think he is going to touch the ball 30-plus times if he is not here, its highly likely he would be able to do that and do it well without having injury issues.”
Johnson has been to the Pro Bowl in each of his three NFL seasons and his 4,598 rushing yards are the most in the NFL over that period. In addition to having led the team in rushing each of the last three years he also has been the Titans’ leader in receptions each of the last two.
He holds the franchise records for rushing yards in a game (228 on Nov. 1, 2009) and in a season (2,006 in 2009). He also is one of three players in team history (Earl Campbell and Warren Moon are the others) to be named NFL offensive player of the year.
“He’s been here longer than I’ve been here, so his transition coming in will probably be easier than mine,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. “I’m sure it’s not going to be an issue. It’s something the coaches worry about more than [players] anyway.
“We’ll just do the best we can with what we’ve got.”