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Titans want to talk to Johnson; RB's agent met with team last week

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher said Tuesday that the team would like to talk with unhappy running back Chris Johnson before June's voluntary workouts.

Scaife shows up for workouts
Veteran TE Bo Scaife insists not receiving a long-term contract isn't the reason he skipped the Titans' voluntary offseason program until Tuesday, when he reported to the team. More ...

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That message came one week after Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt met with Johnson's agent, Joel Segal, in an effort to find common ground in the running back's quest for a new contract, league sources told NFL Network insider Michael Lombardi. The meeting was kept secret so the Johnson contract talk wouldn't become a daily media circus.

Segal didn't immediately return a telephone message left by The Associated Press on Tuesday. Johnson didn't immediately return a text to his cell phone.

"I think it makes sense to get everybody together, and I think that's what we'll push for," Fisher said. "There's no purpose, no set agenda. But it would make sense to get together and try to sort things out. It may happen before we come back in June, it may not. It makes sense to do that."

Johnson has stayed away from the Titans' offseason program and voluntary workouts, including Tuesday's session. The Associated Press NFL 2009 Offensive Player of the Year wants a pay hike after becoming the sixth man in league history to rush for at least 2,000 yards.

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However, the Titans have argued that Johnson has three years left on the five-year, $12 million deal that he signed in 2008 and guaranteed him about $7 million. Team officials also have noted that rules in the final year of the league's collective bargaining agreement limit pay raises to 30 percent, making a new deal impossible without paying Johnson millions up front.

Asked if any meeting between Johnson and the Titans would be to air out feelings, Fisher said no.

"We clearly have an issue," the coach said. "We're going to try to get it resolved. That's all I can say."

Fisher said he hopes to have Johnson back for the June organized team activities -- the first session is scheduled for June 14 -- but he couldn't predict what would happen. Johnson is scheduled to hold a youth football camp in nearby Franklin, Tenn., on June 16.

"He invited me to participate in his football camp," Fisher said. "I told him I'd like for him to participate in mine."

Johnson isn't the only Titans player who's unhappy with his contract status. Tight end Bo Scaife, who signed a one-year tender for $4.9 million in March, joined the offseason program Monday and was on the field for his first minicamp session Tuesday. Linebacker Stephen Tulloch was offered a one-year tender, but he hasn't signed.

Johnson has said he'd like to become the highest-paid offensive player in the league, which is unlikely for a running back. Right now, he isn't even the highest-paid running back on his own team with a scheduled $550,000 salary for 2010.

But Johnson is coming off a rare season.

Johnson ran 358 times for 2,006 yards, and he was the NFL's leading rusher by a margin of 590 yards more than Steven Jackson of the St. Louis Rams. Johnson set the single-season record for yards from scrimmage with 2,509, topping Marshall Faulk's mark of 2,429, set in 1999 with St. Louis. Johnson became the first player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards and have 500 receiving yards in the same season.

Johnson also was the first player in NFL history to rush for three touchdowns of 85 yards or longer in a career -- all in one season. Only Eric Dickerson (3,318) and Edgerrin James (3,262) ran for more yards in their first two seasons than Johnson with 3,234 to start his career.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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