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Chris Johnson: I don't feel I've lost a step

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Chris Johnson's standing in the Arizona Cardinals' backfield will depend on his performance over the next three weeks.

The running back said Tuesday he's not trying to prove anything.

Every game, all season

"I don't say (I have) something to prove to somebody, I say something to prove to myself," Johnson said, via the team's official website. "With everything I went through, I'm just happy to be back playing football on Sundays."

The incident he's referring to is being shot in the shoulder in March.

"Of course, it changes how you look at life," Johnson said.

Since earning the nickname CJ2K in 2009 for his 2,006-yard season, the running back's production has steadily declined. In 2014 with the New York Jets, Johnson earned his first sub-1,000-yard year, gaining 663 yards on just 155 attempts.

The running back, however, doesn't feel his talent has diminished.

"Losing a step, I don't see it," Johnson said. "I actually felt I was more explosive last year."

It's fine for Johnson to feel he can still play -- otherwise he shouldn't have signed a contract -- even if his game tape belies his proclamation. Never a player to run through contact, Johnson relies on his burst to find open spaces, which have become fewer with age.

Still, to put it in another light, he did average 4.3 yards per carry in a down year, which is a yard better than incumbent starter Andre Ellington's 3.3 yards per tote average last season.

"They got great guys on the outside to stretch the field and they got a quarterback who can get it down the field," Johnson said. "In my whole career, I've been kind of dealing with eight and nine in the box and not having a quarterback like Carson (Palmer), not having receivers out there like that to stretch the field for me.

"So I just felt like this would be a good situation for me, a team that has been winning, going to the playoffs. I just felt like this was the right choice."

Now Johnson will need to make the most of facing unloaded boxes, or it might be the last time he gets to choose a team.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down Week 1 of the preseason and kicks off a week's worth of spectacular fantasy insight.

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