Unhappy with his contract, running back Chris Johnson still hasn't reported to Tennessee Titans training camp. Eddie George, the franchise's all-time leading rusher, said Wednesday that Johnson has a point.
"I look at the organization and most of the onus is on them, because they told him they would take care of him after last year," George told the (Nashville) Tennessean. "From Chris Johnson's perspective, I don't blame him for not being there. He has to do what he has to do because he is one of the top backs in the NFL and the window for a running back is small. He has to get his deal now where he has leverage.
"Chris shouldn't have had to hold out because there has been ample time to get a deal done, and you can't hide behind the fact the CBA was the holdup. To me, it's unfortunate Chris is even having to go through this because I know he wants to be there practicing with his teammates."
George, a four-time Pro Bowl player who is atop the Titans' rushing list with 10,009 yards, said it's "uncalled for" that the Titans have put themselves in this position as new coach Mike Munchak is trying to prepare his team for the season.
"Mike Munchak is doing all he can to put his thumbprint on the organization and Chris is his best player," George told the newspaper.
Johnson said last year that he wanted a new deal with $30 million in guaranteed money. The Titans revised his contract by boosting his 2010 salary by $1.5 million to $2.05 million to convince the running back to report.
Johnson is heading into his fourth season and due to make $800,000 in base salary. The final two years of his deal can max out at roughly $2.7 million.
Johnson can be fined $30,000 for each day he misses camp, but he wants to be rewarded for his production from his first three seasons. He became only the sixth man in NFL history to run for at least 2,000 yards, when he ran for 2,006 yards in 2009, and the first to rack up 2,500 yards with 500 yards receiving.
He followed that by running for 1,364 yards last season, despite finishing the season with a bruised thigh. He has started 46 of the 47 games he has played since being drafted 24th overall in 2008 out of East Carolina.
Johnson has 4,598 career yards, averaging five yards per carry, and also has 1,008 yards receiving.
"It definitely behooves everybody to make him happy so everybody can win," George told the newspaper. "Does he deserve a new contract? Absolutely he does. He has outperformed his other one. It's now time to stop messing around and get the deal done."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.