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Thursday, September 5, 2013
A look inside SI's Chris Johnson story

By Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Chris Johnson's an easy-going guy, and his personality and style lead to some interpretations of him that are off-target.

Sports Illustrated’s Alan Shipnuck takes an in-depth look at CJ, the Tennessee Titans' lightning-bolt, lightning-rod running back in this week’s issue.

It’s not online yet, but I can share some highlights from my old school issue that appeared in my mailbox.
In a story loaded with great detail, the highlight for me is this from offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains:

"People see the exterior and yeah, he’s not the most polished kid in the world, so they misjudge him. But he’s one of my favorite players. Everything is 'yes, sir' or 'no, sir.' I’ve never seen him back talk a coach or get into any kind of confrontation with a teammates. He works hard, does what you ask, shows up every Sunday. I’ve seen him at 10-0 and at 0-6, and he was the same kid.”

People get down on Johnson because of all the runs for no gain or losses last year and because they tire of his personal-goal predictions.

He's a good teammate, a good guy and a good running back, and I expect him to have a good year.

The issue for me remains tied to his 2011 holdout -- the backlash from which Shipnuck covers. Johnson sold himself as a player who shouldn't have the contract restrictions of a running back because he qualified as more, as a "playmaker." The playmaker got his monster contract, and he's hardly been a player who transcends his position since then.

Maybe he will now, with a revamped line and a more running-back friendly system.