FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Chris Johnson has been waiting for this game for eight months. On Sunday, he finally gets a chance to face his old team, the Tennessee Titans. He tried to downplay the homecoming, but you can bet payback will be on his mind.
"Of course I want to go out there and tear it up and show 'em what they missed out on and make them regret that," he said Wednesday in the New York Jets' locker room. "But I'm not going to go into the game and make it me versus them."
Johnson was one of the biggest stars in Titans' history -- six straight 1,000-yard seasons, including an epic 2000-yard campaign in 2009. But he became a salary-cap casualty last April, tossed to the curb after undergoing knee surgery. He was hurt by the timing, saying the Titans were "nasty" and "did me wrong" by waiting until after the initial wave of free agency before releasing him. He has no beef with the coaching staff, which is new, but he'd love to show management and ownership that he still has something in his tank.
This season hasn't worked out the way he had hoped. There's the record -- 2-11, same as the Titans -- and his role. At his current pace, he'll finish with only 154 carries, about half his yearly average with the Titans. Johnson knew he'd be splitting carries with Chris Ivory, but he never imagined it would be like this.
"It's been a tough situation," said Johnson, who has expressed frustration as various times during the season.
Unless he morphs into CJ2K over the final three games, he will fall short of the 1,000 mark for the first time in his career. He got off to a sluggish start, perhaps because of the knee, but he has perked up the last two weeks.
He's always have 2009, when he became the sixth back in history to rush for 2,000 yards. Only seven belong to that elite fraternity, as Adrian Peterson did it in 2012.
"I think I've had time to appreciate how special that was," he said. "I know how hard it is to do that. That's not an easy thing to do. It's a club I'll be in for the rest of my life. I'm very proud of that season. I'm going to continue to work hard and get as close to that season as I can every year that I play."