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Chris Johnson will be $9M decision for Tennessee Titans

Has Chris Johnson's midseason push done enough to keep him in Tennessee? Would the Titans actually consider releasing their star running back?

Johnson signed a $53.5 million extension before the 2011 season to remain a Titan through 2016. He's owed $10 million in 2013, including $9 million guaranteed.

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Johnson had a career-low 1,047 rushing yards in 2011 and was off to a worse start in 2012. He failed to rush for 25 yards in four of the first five games and reached 100 yards only once in the first six weeks. Things then changed, and Johnson has averaged 140 yards the last four games.

That $9 million is guaranteed in the spring, and the Titans could make a business decision.

"It's something I don't try and think about a lot, but it pops into my head, and you know there have been things said or whatever," Johnson told The Tennessean. "But it is a situation where if I am here, I'll continue to do what I do, and if I'm not, I'm sure there are 31 other teams out there that would love to have me."

Johnson certainly won't go jobless. He's now on pace for the second-highest output of his NFL career. But did 2011, plus the first part of 2012, plus Johnson's less-than-ideal attitude raise a red flag in the Titans' front office?

"When you get the big contract and stuff -- people expect you to go for 2,000 yards every year," Johnson said. "I am sure whatever my number is at the end of the year, people are still going to have things to say that I didn't gov over 2,000 yards or whatever.

"It's a situation where you really can't buy into that. You just sort of have to block those things out and do what you have to do."

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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