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Pro Bowl appearance never in doubt for goal-oriented Johnson

  • By Simon Samano NFL.com
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Titans running back Chris Johnson had no doubt he would be in his second straight Pro Bowl.

That's because he had a goal set for himself before the season began, a goal he was sure he'd attain.

Gary A. Vasquez / NFL.com
Texans WR Andre Johnson joined Jerry Rice as the only two players since the merger to lead the league in receiving yards in back-to-back seasons.
AFC South Pro Bowl roster breakdown (* starter)
Player Team Pos. Exp. PBs
David Garrard Jacksonville QB 8 1
Andre Johnson* Houston WR 7 4
Chris Johnson* Tennessee RB 2 2
Maurice Jones-Drew Jacksonville RB 4 1
Kevin Mawae Tennessee G 16 8
DeMeco Ryans Houston MLB 4 2
Matt Schaub* Houston QB 6 1
Mario Williams* Houston DE 4 2
Kyle Vanden Bosch Tennessee DE 9 3
Vince Young Tennessee QB 4 2
Will not play due to injury: Brian Cushing, Texans

Colts players out due to Super Bowl: Antoine Bethea, Dallas Clark, Dwight Freeney, Peyton Manning, Robert Mathis, Jeff Saturday, Reggie Wayne

"It was 2,000 yards," Johnson said on Wednesday. "When I said that, nobody really thought I could do it. But once the year started and people saw I was doing it, they were like 'He really could do this.' The media really just brushed it off (in the beginning)."

Johnson made NFL history this season, becoming the sixth player ever to eclipse the 2,000-yard rushing mark, finishing with 2,006. While it's sometimes a statistic that gets overlooked, perhaps even more impressive is that Johnson set the single-season yards from scrimmage record with 2,509, breaking Marshall Faulk's previous 10-year-old mark of 2,429.

Since the season ended, Johnson said he's just been relaxing and getting ready to spend time in South Florida for the Pro Bowl. He's also had time to reflect on his historic year.

"It means a lot," said Johnson, who scored 16 total touchdowns. "Your first dream is to make it to the NFL. Your second dream is to be noticed up there with all the top guys.

"I'm up there now with Eric Dickerson and Terrell Davis and Marshall Faulk and all those guys. Those are names that will never be forgotten."

Last season as a rookie, Johnson shared the load with LenDale White, which clearly was not the case this season as the Titans figured that Johnson's blazing speed and elusiveness was the best thing for their offense.

Strangely enough, Johnson believes he made the biggest case for himself as the primary carrier in last year's divisional playoff loss to Baltimore. In that game, Johnson had 100 total yards (72 rushing, 28 receiving), a touchdown and averaged 6.5 yards per carry in only a quarter-and-a-half of work.

"I think it all started in that playoff game against the Ravens," Johnson said. "I ended up getting hurt and couldn't finish the game, but they saw what I could do as the feature guy. They saw in the first half what I could do if they keep giving me the ball."

The message obviously resonated strongly with the Titans' coaching staff.

If there is one thing that upset Johnson about his record season, it's not that he didn't win the most valuable player award. It's that he didn't receive a single vote.

"I didn't get a single vote for MVP -- that's crazy," Johnson said. "Basically, I think it's a quarterback award for me to not get one vote."

But if Johnson has the type of season he's planning on next year, it should be awfully hard to ignore him.

"I'm going for the rushing record -- 2,106," Johnson said. "The record is 2,105. I'm going for 2,106."

Mark it down: CJ2k Part 2.

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