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Johnson, Titans agree on four-year, $53.5M contract extension

Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans agreed Thursday to a four-year, $53.5 million contract extension with $30 million guaranteed, ending the three-time Pro Bowl running back's holdout.

"He'll sign tomorrow and take his physical and be ready to start practicing," Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said before Thursday night's preseason finale against the New Orleans Saints. "It was a tough negotiation, but both sides gave some, and we got it done."

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Johnson tweeted Wednesday night that he had dinner in Orlando, Fla., with his agent, Joel Segal, "talking business" on the 34th day of his holdout.

Johnson has led the NFL in rushing yards the past three seasons and refused to report to training camp without a new deal. The 24th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft out of East Carolina, Johnson became just the sixth man in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards when he had 2,006 in 2009.

The Titans revised Johnson's contract a year ago, moving some money up in the deal, but he still was set to earn just $1.065 million for this season.

NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reported the new deal will keep Johnson under contract with the Titans through 2016. Johnson will take home $13 million in 2011, a massive bump from his $800,000 base salary -- $1.065 million with previously earned incentives -- that he was scheduled to earn this season. Johnson's $30 million guaranteed will come during the first three years of the deal, and he will make $31 million during the first three years, a league source told La Canfora.

This deal will be noticed by running backs such as Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, who's in the final year of his original contract. The Carolina Panthers gave DeAngelo Williams $21 million guaranteed in his new deal a few weeks ago. Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, who signed a six-year, $27.97 million contract last year, tweeted, "Congrads to (at)ChrisJohnson28 on the new deal well deserved...."

The Tennessean first reported Johnson's deal.

Johnson didn't immediately respond to a message left by The AP. But Titans cornerback Ryan Mouton was among those tweeting congratulations to Johnson.

Tennessee's season opener is Sept. 11 at Jacksonville. For new coach Mike Munchak, having Johnson on the team for the entire season was crucial for the Titans, who are coming off a 6-10 season.

"We have nine days," Reinfeldt said. "The main thing is for him to get comfortable with the system."

The Titans wanted Johnson to at least have a few days of practice with new quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in a revised offense with coordinator Chris Palmer. The only other running back with any NFL carries on the roster is Javon Ringer with 59 in his career, and he has been hurt most of the preseason. Rookie Jamie Harper from Clemson started the past two preseason games for Tennessee.

Fullback Ahmard Hall said Tuesday that Johnson would have some work to do once he does arrive to learn the changes in Palmer's offense, especially with the different terminology.

"You're going to have to think," Hall said. "You're not going to just be able to roll in and hit the ground running as if coach (Mike) Heimerdinger were still here. Coach Palmer has put in a lot of good things, but the language is different. He's definitely going to have to think. The sooner he gets in, the better."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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