It's a sentiment the cheetah-racing Johnson has been railing against ever since. Now that he's entering his age-28 season, Johnson insists his game is not on the decline.
"It's baffling to me when somebody can sit here and say I lost a step," Johnson told Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com on Monday. "They don't know what they are talking about."
While Johnson has picked up a tendency to dance east to west at the line of scrimmage and no longer showcases the insane lateral agility from his first two seasons, we haven't noticed a drop-off in his long speed.
For those critics who believe he's no longer the "CJ2K" of old, Johnson is carrying a massive chip on his shoulder.
"If you really know football, and watch the game, you know I don't have to make any excuses. I am not that type of guy anyway. I've never been the guy who complains about the line or anything like that," Johnson said, apparently with a straight face. "You just roll with it. But look at the other backs in this league -- Adrian (Peterson), (Arian) Foster, (Jamaal) Charles. Look at their tapes, they have room to run."
"I did it first," Johnson said of 2,000 yards. "Not one time did I sit back and say he did something that I can't do. ... He's a great back. But I can't sit here and say out of my own mouth that Adrian Peterson is better than me. All the things he's done, I've done the same things. I did them first."
To win over his growing coterie of critics, Johnson will need to overtake Peterson for the second time in his career to capture the league's rushing crown.