NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Chris Johnson got an early phone call Saturday morning, then hopped onto a plane from Orlando to Tennessee. He made it in time to sign his new five-year contract and got onto the field for his first training camp practice.
"I just knew that the organization and my agent, they were doing their jobs, what I hired him for. I was waiting and relaxing, waiting to get to camp and start working," Johnson said.
Johnson missed the first practice of training camp on Friday, but the team announced Saturday morning that they had agreed on a deal with the running back out of East Carolina who was the 24th pick overall in the draft. Considered the fastest player available in the draft, Johnson was timed at 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
"Things fell together quite nicely last night," coach Jeff Fisher said. "Dallas got going, Pittsburgh got going. It was good. We got him an early flight, woke him up early. ... He'll sleep good tonight for a number of reasons."
Johnson's deal is worth approximately $12 million. Asked what he would do with his bonus money, Johnson said he didn't know yet. But he already had spent $5,000 -- the price of switching from jersey No. 29 to No. 28 with cornerback Chris Carr.
Asked if the price was worth the switch, Johnson was succinct: "Yeah."
Johnson started 36 of 47 games at East Carolina, and he ran for 2,982 yards in his career, which ranks third all-time in school history. He holds the Pirates' record for career touchdowns with 44, one of 18 game, season or career records he set or tied at the school. His 6,993 all-purpose yards ranked third in the history of Conference USA.
The Titans wasted little time putting him on the field. He took part in a morning walk-through and worked at running back, at times second in the rotation behind LenDale White. He also lined up in other spots for an offense needing to score more points than in 2007, an offense that hasn't seen a position player with his speed in more than a decade.
Fisher said Johnson understands what they're doing even as the Titans move him around. The rookie still has to find time to perform the conditioning test, but Fisher said Johnson came back in good shape.
"All things aside, he's excited about making some good plays for us," Fisher said.
Notes: The Titans released offensive lineman Brock Pasteur and signed Brandon Torrey. Fisher said Pasteur worked well in the offseason and improved his strength. But team officials leaned toward Torrey, thinking he could help them get through preseason games better.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press